Expats, including 14 OFWs, apprehended during ‘forbidden’ worship in Saudi
A Filipino migrant rights group in the
Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator John Leonard Monterona said there were two OFWs who have called him on separate occasions last Saturday morning informing him of the said incident.
Monterona said both OFWs, who have requested not to be named, were asking assistance, specifically in working for the release of their fellow OFWs who were among those apprehended.
Monterona said based on the information given to him by the OFW callers, their fellow OFW friends attended a ‘Christian religious’ service on Friday, when all of a sudden a number of Saudi cultural police went through the place where they are performing a religious worship.
“The OFW callers pleaded for help for their detained companions, particularly to get them released from jail,” Monterona added.
Based on the information provided to him, Monterona said there are about a 100 expatriates of various nationalities, including 14 OFWs, who have attended the ‘prohibited’ religious worship.
Conducting religious activities other than Islam is prohibited in
However, there are Born Again Christian groups and other similar religious groups that are clandestinely performing religious activities even if it is strictly banned by the host government.
“We would like to remind our fellow OFWs to respect the cultural prohibitions imposed by the host country specifically performing religious worship other than Islam; we are ‘foreigners’ of third class category here in Saudi,” Monterona averred.
“To avoid getting into trouble like this one, our fellow OFWs must be cautious and must have a ‘sense of extra care’ especially in Saudi Arabia which has been known to be strictly implementing its cultural laws not only to their own nationals but as well as to expatriates or foreign workers including OFWs,” Monterona added.
Monterona said Migrante case officers have been instructed to coordinate with the concerned RP embassy officials and to get more information such as the names of the OFWs so that their respective employer would be immediately informed and ask them to get their detained OFWs a provisional release under their custody. (end) # # #