Viennese Muslim group petitions for church in Saudi Arabia

'Like Islam in Europe,Christianity must have freedom of worship'

26 September, 20:09

(ANSAmed) - Vienna - A liberal Viennese Muslim group has petitioned the Saudi Arabian government for permission to erect a Christian church and repeal its prohibition of the Christian faith. "Like Islam in Europe, Christianity must be acknowledged the right to freedom of worship," wrote the ILMOE - which stands for Liberal Muslim Initiative in Austria - in a letter to the Saudi ambassador to Austria, Mohammed al-Salloum.

The contents of the letter was reported Wednesday by the news agency APA. ILMOE President Amer al-Bayati requested a meeting with the Saudi diplomat to present the group's ideas for the project.

Bayati wrote that Saudi Arabia's prohibition of Christianity exposes the people of that faith to grave personal risk and is "a glaring violation of the freedom of denomination." Bayati added that at a moment when Saudi Arabia is supporting and financing the construction of mosques on a massive scale in Europe, the lack of freedom of region for Christians in Saudi Arabia is a source of "great disappointment". The organization first asked Saudi authorities to build a church last spring, after Saudi Arabia's top Sunni religious leader, the Grand Mufti, called for the destruction of all Christian churches on the Arabian peninsula. The ILMOE condemned the Grand Mufti's gesture saying Islam does not prohibit the construction of Christian churches.



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