Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Interpol Reportedly Hunting Saudi Christian Convert Who Fled Country

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The Washington Times reported that the international law enforcement agency Interpol is searching for a 28-year-old woman from Saudi Arabia who converted from Islam to Christianity after being evangelized by two Christian men in the country.

“The woman’s father said his daughter was working in an insurance company in Al-Khobar (in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province) when her boss, a Lebanese Christian man, influenced her and ultimately encouraged her to leave Islam,” reported the Times. “According to Saudi investigators, a second man, a Saudi national, helped the woman obtain false documents and leave the country.”

Because leaving Islam is considered a capital crime in Saudi Arabia, and it is also unlawful for a Saudi woman to obtain a passport or leave the country without permission of her “guardian,” the two men have been detained and are scheduled to face a Saudi court on September 15. Proselytizing by non-Muslims is also forbidden in the country, but the case is apparently the first of its kind to be considered by a Saudi court in recent memory.

According to Saudi news sources, Interpol is coordinating efforts to locate the young woman, who apparently escaped to Sweden, and retrieve her from her “kidnappers.” The Saudi Gazette reported that the young woman “said praying and fasting did not bring her any benefits. She also criticized the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Hai’a) and claimed that she was raised to hate Judaism and Christianity but fell in love with the religions after she found peace in Christianity. She said she became a Christian after she had a dream one night. In it, she climbed to the skies and heard God telling her that Jesus is His son.”

Continental News, a Paris-based Christian news site, reported that the young woman's father “has called upon the authorities to help him bring back his daughter. He said his daughter still talks to them over the phone and she is currently in Sweden. The father is worried that his daughter might get brainwashed.”

Meanwhile the Saudi Embassy in Stockholm has asked the Swedish government to get involved in helping to locate the woman and send her back home — where, as an “apostate” from Islam she technically could face a penalty of death. Sweden has, in turn, reportedly enlisted the help of Interpol to find the woman.

Continental News columnist Elizabeth Kendal wrote that if it is true the international police agency is involved in the case, “then it may well be the first time Interpol has been abused by an Islamic State for the purpose of retrieving an apostate.” Kendal added that in the past “Islamic states have generally been content to let apostates flee, for at least then they are not be around to spread fitna (temptation/doubt) amongst the locals.” But in this era of Facebook, Twitter, and other global communications, an apostate from Islam “can generate far more fitna from a safe-haven in the West than they ever could at home,” Kendal noted. “And 'fitna is worse than killing' (Qur’an Sura 2:191),” she added, quoting Islamic scripture.

Photo: Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Sweden