By Jeremy Reynalds
Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
SAUDI ARABIA (ANS) — A Lebanese man was sentenced to 300 lashes with a whip and six years in prison for his role in helping a Saudi woman convert to Christianity and flee the Saudi kingdom.
According to a story by Benjamin Weinthal for FoxNews.com, the court in the Eastern Saudi city of Khobar — located on the coast of the Persian Gulf — also sentenced a Saudi man to two years in prison and 200 lashes. He had helped the young woman named Maryam — dubbed “the girl of Khobar” — in her escape to Sweden to secure asylum.
Maryam, whose case has been closely followed in Saudi Arabia, criticized Saudi Arabia’s Sunni monarchy for instilling in her a hatred of Judaism and Christianity, according to the English-language Saudi Gazette. The Jeddah-based paper wrote that she “fell in love with the religions after she found peace in Christianity.”
FoxNews.com reported that the two men, who worked with Maryam at an insurance company, were arrested last July following a complaint filed by the woman’s father, according to reports. The lawyer for Maryam’s family, Hmood al-Khalidi, expressed satisfaction with the severe punishments.
Maryam, who last year appeared in a YouTube video and proclaimed her conversion to Christianity, embraced Christianity after dreaming about climbing to the sky and hearing God say that Jesus is his son, according to the Gazette.
However, FoxNews.com reported, her fervent faith did not go over well in her homeland, which has been singled out for its intolerance of religious beliefs other than Islam.
FoxNews.com said Saudi Arabia’s failure to guarantee religious freedom in its closed society prompted the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in its new report to cite the Gulf monarchy ruled by the 88-year-old King Abdullah as a “country of particular concern” because of its ongoing violations of religious freedom.
Read more: assistnews.com