` photo: freedomhouse.org Saudi Arabia The Church in Saudi Arabia is living under the most difficult circumstances. The regime has declared the entire Arabian peninsula 'Haram,' forbidden to all other religions, and it is enforcing this prohibition strictly. Freedom of religion does not exist. The Government prohibits the practice of other religions, be it in Public or in Private. Saudi law states that no churches may be built north of Yemen and south of Jordan. It is impossible for foreigners to visit Saudi Arabia as tourists. One can only enter the kingdom on business visa (i.e. on the invitation of a company already active in the country), or as a Muslim pilgrim. The survey of problems and needs of the Church in Saudi Arabia is completely determined by the total prohibition of any religion but Islam. [..] 1. Heavy surveillance of Saudi society by the Mutawwa'in and the Ministry of the Interior The Saudi religious police (Mutawwa'in) is practically omnipresent in Saudi Arabia. Their power is almost limitless. The Mutawwa'in have special prisons where they torture their victims. Their behaviour is often ruthless. Their aim is to ascertain that all citizens (and expatriates) adhere to strict Islamic legislation. [...] On daily life The Mutawwa'in control every aspect of daily life. They patrol the streets in their cars, check in shops if women are dressed according to Islamic dress codes, see that all shops are closed during prayer times, watch that no signs of other religions are visible, etc [...] Systematic Discrimination based on Sex and Religion are Built into Saudi law. By religious law and social custom, women have the right to own property and are entitled to financial support from their husbands or male relatives. However, women have few political and social rights and are not treated as equal members of society. There are no active women's rights groups, nor would one be tolerated by the Government. Women, including foreigners, may not legally drive motor vehicles or ride bicycles and are restricted in their use of public facilities when men are present. Women must enter city buses by separate rear entrances and sit in specially designated sections. Women risk arrest by the Mutawwa'in for riding in a vehicle driven by a male who is not an employee or a close male relative. Women are not admitted to a hospital for medical treatment without the consent of their male relative(s). By law and custom, women may not undertake domestic and foreign travel alone. [...] On media and telecommunications The law severely limits freedom of Speech and Press. The authorities do not countenance criticism of Islam, the ruling family, of the government. Persons whose criticism align with an organised political opposition are subject to arrest and detention until they confess their crime or sign a statement promising not to resume such criticisms, which is tantamount to a confession.." http://www.opendoors.org/content/saudipro2.htm .