In an audio file posted on a Christian satellite TV channel, prince Abdullah al-Sabah declared his faith in Jesus Christ. Muslims have attacked him saying “he isn’t a member of the royal family”.
According to reports, a Kuwaiti royal prince has become a follower of Jesus Christ. In an audio file posted with his name, he affirms that if he is killed because of a recording he made where he talks about his conversion, he firmly believes that he will meet Jesus Christ face-to-face. The news comes from Middle Eastern sources which state that al-Haqiqa – a Christian satellite TV channel in Arabic that transmits Christian religious programmes – broadcast an audio file attributed to the Kuwaiti prince, identified as Abdullah al-Sabah. The al-Sabahs are the royal family of Kuwait, a country rich in oil. The name Abdullah (servant of God) frequently appears in the Emir’s family tree.
In his audio file, Abdullah declared: “First of all, I fully agree with the distribution of this audio file and I now declare that if they kill me because of it, then I will appear before Jesus Christ and be with him for all eternity.” In this statement, the prince demonstrates his awareness of the fate in store for a martyr of the faith, according to Christian doctrine. The television channel stated that Abdullah is a member of the royal family, and that he recently renounced his faith in Islam and became a Christian, without specifying which particular branch of Christianity he had chosen. After stating his full name, the prince declared: “I will accept whatever they do to me, because the truth in the Bible has guided me towards the right path.”
In the audio file, Abdullah talks about the Islamic groups that are winning the elections in Egypt and declares: “Islamic communities have always wanted to attack in different parts of the world but God has preserved the world and still protects it. This is why we have recently seen disagreements appearing among Islamic groups who are now fighting with each other. They are about to divide further into different groups.”
Mohabat News, a Christian Iranian website which has been following the fate of Christian minorities in the Middle East closely and which has monitored Abdullah’s statement, confirms that this news was published briefly by Arabic news agencies and also by the Iranian state news agency. Some independent websites with Shiite leanings denied the reports and quoted another Kuwaiti prince, Azbi al-Sabah, who said: “There’s no one by that name in the Kuwaiti royal family.” In actual fact, the name Abdullah does not appear on the list of the 15 members of the royal family who rule this small, extremely wealthy country in different capacities: from the Sheikh down to Princess Nijirah al-Sabah, who testified in the US Congress under the assumed name of “Nurse Nayirah” on the humanitarian situation in the country after the invasion by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and just before the Gulf War. That isn’t to say that this high-profile convert is not hidden somewhere within the extended family, under a different name.
In Kuwait the overwhelming majority of the population is Muslim (only 4% is Christian) and the country’s Constitution states: “Islam is the official religion of the country and Sharia is the main source for legislation.”
As is well known, the problem of conversions from Islam to other religions is a recurring problem in relationships between followers of the Prophet and other faiths and it is a very serious problem in all countries where the majority of the population is Muslim, even those that at first sight would seem socially progressive. The problem has always been there, but in the last few years the majority religion has become more sensitive in towards the increased evangelical activity being carried out, not so much by “traditional” Christian religions who have always been used to the insurmountable limits of living alongside Muslims, but rather by Protestant faiths.
These seem to be enjoying enormous success – not just in Kuwait; it’s likely that the mysterious prince could be one of their followers – but also in countries that are definitely more mistrustful, such as the theocratic Iran of the ayatollahs.
After Heidar Moslehi, the Iranian intelligence minister, asked Muslim seminaries to become proactive in stopping the spread of Christianity, a high-ranking cleric declared that Evangelical Christianity is the most horrifying intelligence and security organisation in the world. This statement seems to have appeared on press agencies close to the Revolutionary Guard.
In a conference on “New Age cults” held in Varamin, a district south of Teheran, Akhond Mohsen Alizadeh declared: “We should not allow these cults to question Islamic jurisprudence under the cover of mysticism.” He went on to add: “They tell the youth that God is wrathful and horrible in Islam but is love in Christianity. Also, Christian preachers answer the questions and doubts of youth in their own interest and try to attract them.” Nevertheless a whole series of signs seem to indicate that non-traditional Christianity – there are Catholics and Orthodox Christians in Iran as well as a large Armenian community – is spreading. The regime’s press recently spoke of them with concern and the number of cases of repression and condemnation following conversions is growing.