Every morning, I usually do the same thing. This morning, I came across this Baptist Press article about Saudi Arabia. Here are some quotes:

The ailing King Fahd, who inherited the desert kingdom his father founded and saw become the world’s biggest and richest oil producer, died Aug. 1. Crown Prince Abdullah, de facto ruler since his elder brother Fahd began suffering debilitating strokes a decade ago, now is officially the absolute monarch over more than 25 million people in Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah recently visited the Texas ranch of President Bush, who calls him a friend and ally against global terror. The new king styles himself as a moderate and a reformer, according to Saudi watchers. But he stands between powerful and opposing pressures inside and outside his kingdom: internal threats from radical Islamist forces and international demands that he democratize Saudi society and wipe out the brand of extremism that produced Osama bin Laden.

He allowed local elections (for male voters only) earlier this year and has sponsored some educational reforms. But don’t expect major change any time soon, advises “Jess Martin,”* a Christian who closely observes events in the kingdom.

Why? Because of tradition, a culture that rewards conformity and consensus –- and exclusive Islamic rule. Any other public religious expression is forbidden and punished, even among foreign workers.

Expatriate workers from Asian nations like the Philippines and Bangladesh who dare to worship Christ in home groups usually receive harsher treatment –- including arrest and imprisonment — than Westerners. Any Saudi Arab who embraces a faith other than Islam will face persecution and possibly death.

“Militancy is not where the average Saudi sits,” Martin observes. “The average Saudi wants many of the same things the average American does. He wants his kids to do well in school. He wants to have a certain standard of living. He wants a good job.”

The average Saudi also knows -– deep down –- that he is spiritually lost.

“They don’t need democracy; they need an encounter with the living God,” Martin stresses. “When you go inside a Saudi’s house, and you sit and talk to him, you’ll see his heart and it is just as sinful as everyone else’s — and he knows it. The challenge for us is: What are we going to do about it? What are we going to do in obedience to God to take Christ to the people called Saudi Arabs?”

That article led me to this site: I would recommend you go visit the site.

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