April 2, 2012
A call by Saudi Arabia's top Islamic authority for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula has prompted an organization representing Filipino workers in the region to take caution, CNSNews.com reports. More than two million Filipinos live and work in the Middle East -- 1.2 million in Saudi Arabia alone -- and the majority of them are Christians or Catholics. John Leonard Monterona of the Migrante-Middle East organization urged non-Muslim Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia to be careful not to violate government restrictions in order to avoid being imprisoned. Churches are illegal in Saudi Arabia, but other countries in the Arabian Peninsula allow a limited number of non-Islamic places of worship, mostly for foreign Christians. Monterona said the Saudi government and religious leaders were "well aware that there are religious activities being held discreetly in homes and apartments by non-Muslims" and that a number of Filipinos and other foreign workers had already been apprehended by the Saudi religious police for illegal religious activity.