A young Saudi man shared a video of himself getting baptized in the UK, making his conversion to Christianity public and inviting disapproval from Islamic communities.
In the video, Bandar Al Otaibi's baptism is performed at a church where he lies in a bathtub filled with water.
"This is the moment I was baptized at a church on Sunday 20-10-2019. Yes to the freedom of belief,” Al Otaibi wrote in a tweet. “Best decision of my life.”
The video sparked outrage among Saudi social media users. Many of them strongly attacked him although the reaction did not come as a surprise, as converting from Islam is considered an act of blasphemy in the Islamic Kingdom.
لا تتشمتون— ♥🖤 (@berlante1) October 24, 2019
قولو الحمد الله الذي عافانا مماابتلى به غيرنا وفضلنا على كثير ممن خلق تفضيلاً كبيرا
Translation: “Don’t attack him. Just be thankful Allah blessed us with Islam and cursed him with Christianity. Don’t curse at him, he’s already cursed.”
الله يصلحك ويهديك ويتوفاك مسلم يارب .— كبريائي كتلوني (@YnFCB) October 24, 2019
Translation: “I ask Allah to show you the right way, and that you die a Muslim man.”
الإسلام بك او بدونك سينتصر اما انت— راكان العجمي (@3thb_90) October 25, 2019
فـ بدون الإسلام ستضيع وتخسر .
Translation: “Islam will win, with or without you. But you, without Islam, are a lost man.”
On the other hand, some defended Al Oatibi, arguing that freedom of belief is a human right should be legal in the conservative country.
مبروك عقبال حرية المعتقد في السعودية— 🇺🇸chaos (@calif739) October 24, 2019
Translation: “Congratulations. I hope there will come a day when there will be freedom of belief in Saudi Arabia.”
عمادة مباركة ✝️💓— 🧚🏽♀️ (@Grace1413) October 24, 2019
Translation: “Blessed baptism.”
Despite the controversy, there has been no official comments or statements from Saudi officials to date.
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