Ethiopian Christians to be deported from Saudi Arabia (BBC)

January 31st, 2012 Print Print Email Email

Some 35 Ethiopian Christians face deportation from Saudi Arabia for “illicit mingling”, the global rights body Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.

Police arrested the group – including 29 women – after raiding a prayer meeting in the second city of Jeddah.

The women were subjected to strip searches and the men beaten and called “unbelievers”, according to HRW.

In 2006, the Saudi government promised to stop interfering with private worship by non-Muslims.

The group was arrested in a private home as they gathered to pray during the run-up to Christmas, celebrated by Ethiopian Orthodox Christians on 7 January.

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”.

Mixing of the sexes is not allowed in public – but normally permitted in private unless for “the purpose of corruption”, according to the religious police.

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.

Ethiopia was one of the first Christian countries in the world, having officially adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th Century.

  1. time to repent
    | #1

    ”The women were subjected to strip searches and the men beaten and called “unbelievers”

    Pray for those Ethiopian christians in Saudi Arabia for God’s protection.

  2. Anonymous
    | #2

    Ethiopians in the world should stand together.

  3. Asfaw Dargue
    | #3

    Of course it is sad that these women were abused and suffered. May God help them to recover.

    But it is also sad that so many feel the need to go to countries like Saudi Arabia just to make a better living. A society that exports its children for labour elsewhere has a problem that needs fixing. Why are we Ethiopians not capable of taking care of our own and giving economic and other opportunities for our own? How many of us, as individuals, are helping our sisters (and brothers) to get opportunities to make a decent living in Ethiopia.

    Yes, we have a governance problem. But one of the many ways to get rid of the dictatorship is by empowering each other to improve economically and also to become morally strong enough to resist and overcome the dictatorship.

    Too many of us in Ethiopia but especially in the diaspora are simply viewing and complaining from afar, instead of becoming part of the solution. This is part of the reason our sisters are in Saudi Arabia being humiliated.

  4. oi
    | #4

    Ethiopia is the only country that welcomed mohammed when he was persecuted by his own people. Ethiopian christians in the saudi islamist state deservr better treatment than this.

  5. Dany
    | #5

    What would be the response of ‘our government ‘? Will it threaten Saudi Embassy in Ethiopia to reduce their staff in response to their illegal acts? allow public demonstration at the Embassy ?let us see it is test how far it cares for their citizens.

  6. Joel Gutama
    | #6

    Let’s make our voices heard loud in opposition to the indignant acts of the Islamic Caliphate of Saudi for illegally rounding up fellow Ethiopians for no other crime than exercising their natural and inalienable right to worship.

  7. Anonymous
    | #7

    All God asks from us is to be kind to one another as He is to us, the Golden rule of the Holy Book in every religion tell us ” WHAT IS HATEFUL TO YOU, DO NOT TO YOUR FELLOW MAN. THAT IS THE ENTIRE LAW; ALL THE REST IS COMMENTARY. It is useless to be so righteous and loving God/Allah and at the same token mistreat, loot, cheat, despise, hate, torture and kill another human being in the name of religion. THAT IS MORONIC!

  8. Abel
    | #8

    What the Saudi’s have done to Ethiopians is by any standard unacceptable but knowing the legal remanification why in the world did these fellow Ethiopians openly Celebrating Christmas. They should have used some kind of vigilance. A lesson for others.

  9. 2ndbravo
    | #9

    They are not Christian but visa seekers to th USA by defaming Saudi Arabia. This is what people of their type were doing for the past twenty years or more. Through VOA Amharic broadcast I learned that there is an Ethiopian concerned person trying to contact tha US secretary of state to pressure Saudi Arabia to release them. I uggest to this concerned Ethiopian to use his good efforts to ask the US to pressure Isreal to treat our Ethiopian Fellashas humanly and respect the rights of all
    african refugees on its land.

    Call it any name be asured Saudi Arabia will not be defamed by those who do not have the taste of a free nation.

    Thanks and best regards.

  10. sand
    | #10

    yewuch guday minster min eyesera yiho

  11. Anonymous
    | #11

    I really don’t believe in the Devil as an entity, I do believe the evil are among us who do evil things and have no conscience to feel and understand the agony of human beings, case in point, dictators like Meles, his TPLF servants and their supporters. And the Angels are also among us who have good conscience and do good things in the world who feel and understand the suffering of others and defend those who cannot defend themselves, instead of blaming them and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, case in point, the Ethiopian freedom fighters, the Ethiopian journalists who are risking their lives to get the truth out in the open, Journalists without boarders, Doctors without boarders, and many other organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and so on, who are the voice for the voiceless people around the world. Without these Angels, the earth we live in will be HELL.

  12. Arab Asfere
    | #12

    I think we should go across that pond and get back our former colonies.

  13. Arab Asfere
    | #13

    I don’t blame the Saudi’s, or anyone else who dumps on Ethiopians. I blame us for not being our fathers children. We used to be one of the 4 regional powers. We ruled parts of present day Saudi Arabia. Sadam Hussein in 1990 went into the classrooms, when the US commenced operation Desert Storm I, telling the children that the Ethiopians were returning to invade. The Prophet Mohammed was born as Ethiopian forces were besieging Mecca in the year of the Elephant(Ethiopian Elephant cavalry).

    Now Ethiopians are kicked out for practicing their faith ? We built the largest, most beautiful church known to Christendom in Sanaa in 530 AD, the Al Qalis, or Ecclesia Basilica.

    Use your brains and your hearts be your forefathers.

  14. Arab Asfere
    | #14

    And even afterwards when 243 of the most powerful Muslim nations assembled their armies and came to subjugate Ethiopia, at the height of Muslim ascendance Atse Amdetstion and his valiant Seife Nebelbal guards at the head of his elite Keste Nihib, Tekula and regular troops, Dil be Xer, Dil be Shotel annihilated the invasion force and chased the remnants into the Red Sea. I don’t think any of them made the swim across. The sharks were fat that year.

  15. 2ndbravo
    | #15

    Arab Asfere,

    My suggestion to you with due respect is that late us live our own era that tells our reality. Again with due respect I want to remind you that Islam is also an Ethiopian religion and try to know what the many great Ethiopian Muslim Shieks and Wollis mean to this great country of ours like their counterparts the monks and nuns who live in monastries and hermits who live in the forests. It is time for us now to prove that Ethiopia which was known as a Chritian Island is the Island of the faithful.

    Thanks and best regards.

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