In the latest kingdom-wide crackdown on those who would violate the national religious policy of Islam only, Saudi Vice and Virtue Police arrested 44 on charges of plotting to celebrate Christmas, as reported on Dec. 27, 2012 by the Beirut-based Al-Akhbar news portal.
The raid took place in the northwest province of al-Jawf, at the private residence of an individual identified only as “an Asian diplomat.”
Other than the unnamed diplomat, 41 Christians were in attendance, as well as one Saudi and one Egyptian Muslim. Al-Akhbar describes the host and the two Muslim guests as “severely intoxicated.”
The Lebanese news service also points out:
Saudi religious police are known to detain residents of the kingdom at whim, citing loose interpretations of Sharia and public statements by hardline religious leaders to justify crackdowns.
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Al-Akhbar also cites that a member of the Higher Council of Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohammed al-Othaimin:
Recently prohibited sending holiday wishes to ‘heretics’ on Christmas or other religious Christian holidays.
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdel Aziz bin Abdullah had previously condemned “invitations to Christmas or wedding celebrations.”
No stranger to controversy, the Grand Mufti recently authorized Muslim men to marry girls as young as 10-years-old.
The Sheikh also called on all of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors on the Arabian peninsula to “destroy all the churches of the region.”