Saudi authorities raided a home Friday and arrested 27 people inside, accusing them of using the premises for Christian services, Saudi media reported.
The public worship of any religion besides Islam is prohibited in the kingdom.
The Saudi Gazette, quoting the Arabic-language Alsharq newspaper, reported that the raid, which occurred in Khafji, was prompted by a tip from a citizen that “suspicious activities” were taking place in the house of an Indian national.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), with police backup, arrested those inside and seized Bibles and musical instruments.
“The Haia members who stormed the house found the men, women and children engaged in religious rituals in one of the rooms,” the Saudi Gazette reported.
“The raid is another part of an ongoing harassment campaign directed at Christians at the exact same time that the Saudi kingdom is making a major ‘interfaith outreach’ push internationally,” observed Patrick Poole of P.J. Media, who appears to have been the first to report on the arrests in the U.S. media.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va, told Fox News, “I hope our government will speak up” about the home church raid. Wolf noted the historical intolerance of Saudi authorities to non-Islamic worship. Saudi officials “did not want our soldiers to wear crosses during the Desert Storm” military operation in 1991, Wolf said.
Fox News reached out to the Saudi embassy in Washington, but a spokeswoman there said the embassy had nothing to say about the arrests.