By BosNewsLife Middle East Service with additional reporting by Joseph DeCaro
KHAFJI, SAUDI ARABIA (BosNewsLife)– Concerns remained Thursday, September 11, over the whereabouts of dozens of Christians detained in Saudi Arabia for worshiping in an underground house church, Christians said.
Last week, Saudi Arabia's notorious religious police — the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — reportedly detained some 30 Christians during a gathering at a home in the Saudi city of Khafji.
Arabic-language news website Akhbar 24 said the kingdom's religious police were tipped off that Christians were holding a prayer meeting in what authorities view as "an illegal house church".
Sources said all detained Christians were adults, but the Saudi Gazette publication claimed children were also among those being held.
"Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy," said Nina Shea, director of the influential Hudson Institutes's Center for Religious Freedom.
"It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches. This is enforced, even though there are over two million Christian foreign workers in that country."
Although the Saudi monarchy funds the King Abdullah International Center for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, its religious police continue to crackdown on Christianity within the Islamic kingdom, rights activists and local believers say.
This isn't an isolated incident. In recent years Saudi security forces detained scores of often foreign workers because of their Christian activities, BosNewsLife reported earlier.