By Marshall Ramsey II, Worthy News U.S. Correspondent
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA (Worthy News) - Approximately 35 Christians in Saudi Arabia face deportation on the charge of "illicit mingling," according to a report by the global rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Police arrested the group of 29 women and 6 men after raiding a prayer meeting in the city of Jeddah. The group was arrested in a private home where they had gathered to pray during the run-up to Christmas, which is celebrated by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on January 7. The men were beaten and called "unbelievers," i.e. infidels, and the women were strip-searched, apparently on the spot.
EXCUSE TO PERSECUTE CHRISTIANS
HRW spoke to a man and two women by telephone from the prisons where they are being held. They say they have been charged with mixing with unmarried persons of the opposite sex - even though HRW says Saudi Arabia has no law defining "illicit mingling."
Mingling of the sexes is not allowed in public - but normally pemitted in private unless for "the purpose of corruption", according to the religious police. By purposefully keeping the law vague, the Saudi government is granted free reign to define the law as it sees fit, even to the bearing of false witness upon persons, specifically Christians, in order to justify its actions.
The ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom bans the practice of any religion except Islam - but in recent years pledged to leave people of other faiths alone if they worshipped in private homes. This, however, seems unlikely due to the fact that in the Islamic faith, especially those persons and nations which strictly adhere to it, all non-Muslims are considered infidels and are worthy of death.