Friday, May 20, 2005

Saudis Shred Bibles, Rights Campaigners Claim

(CNSNews.com) - Bibles found in the possession of visitors to Saudi Arabia are routinely confiscated by customs officials, and in some cases copies allegedly have been put through a paper shredder, according to religious rights campaigners.

Reports from the Islamic world of the abuse of Bibles and other items important to Christians emerge from time to time, but generally have little impact - in contrast to the wave of Muslim anger sparked by a Newsweek report, since retracted, of Koran desecration by the U.S. military.

"The Muslims respect the Koran far more than Christians respect the Bible," says Danny Nalliah, a Sri Lankan-born evangelical pastor now based in Australia.

During the 1990s, Nalliah spent two years in Saudi Arabia, where he was deeply involved with the underground church.

"It's a very well-known fact that if you have a Bible at customs when you enter the airport, and if they find the Bible, that the Bible is taken and put in the shredder," he said in an interview this week.

"If you have more than one Bible you will be taken into custody, and if you have a quantity of Bibles you will be given 70 lashes for sure - you could even be executed."

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