Saudi official says non-Muslims can worship -- in private

That’s what they said. In reality, no one can worship at all.

RIYADH (AFP) - Non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia are free to practise their religion in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom but must do so in private, the head of a government watchdog told AFP on Monday.

“This matter is well known and doesn’t require reasserting – non-Muslims can conduct their religious ceremonies in secret but not in public,” said the head of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Turki al-Sudairy.
International human rights groups say Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, does not tolerate religious practices by non-Muslims.
Sudairy stressed that allowing non-Muslims to openly practise their faith would conflict with the “religious politics of the kingdom” and “cause a number of problems, the most serious being preaching… in the cradle of Islam”.
New York-based Human Rights Watch in January accused Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, of carrying out a wave of arrests and deportations against mainly south Asian followers of the Ahmadi faith that it said amounted to a “grave violation” of religious freedom.
It said the Saudi authorities had arrested 56 non-Saudi followers of the faith, “including infants and young children” and deported at least eight to India or Pakistan.
Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and follow the teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a 19th-century Indian Muslim scholar. In Saudi Arabia, the faith is practised by a small minority of foreign workers, primarily from India and Pakistan.
But many Muslims view the Ahmadis as heretics because of the elevated status they afford to the faith’s founder. They also face persecution in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Human rights organisations say the Saudi government also discriminates against Shiite Muslims, who are estimated to make up at least 10 percent of the citizen population of some 17 million.
Saudi Arabia is dominated by the austere Sunni doctrine of Wahabism, many of whose followers deride Shiite Muslims as rejectionists.;_ylt=AopT1rHoa3TRuOoRt7wAXfXn7SkC

Hmmm? Does this mean that it is now legal to have a bible in Saudi? Or is that still illegal?

Paarsurrey would have a thing or 2 to say about this…

I’ve talked a bit to Paarsurrey about this. The Ahmadi believe that Muhammad was not the last prophet. they also seem to disregard a lot of main stream Shri’ah. He/she has posted links to the persecution that the Ahmadi are suffering at the hands of mainstream Islam. It’s very sad.

They’ve said this before. It means nothing. Actions speak louder than words, and their actions do not match their words.

The officials do not have a rein on the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (ie - the religious police). They are a law unto themselves and frequently ignore directives from the government. Perhaps because, in truth and in fact, the official declaration of freedom to worship in secret is just lip service to deflect criticism but has absolutely no binding weight on the Ministry. Christians still disappear into the MPVPV without charges after having been forcibly removed from their homes whether they were conducting services or not. They are usually held incommunicado with no recourse to even a Saudi lawyer.

At least the some of the 56 (of various faiths) were deported instead. Wonder how the rest are faring?

No compulsion - hooey!

What they have to say in the official English language Arab News (odd, no mention of arrests & deportations):

In the KSA, even private houses are searched and raided if they suspect that there’s a Bible study going on, much less a Mass or other types of service that’s not Islam. I would like to see this first before actually believing they’ll allow freedom of religion in private. It is so much better to be in neighboring UAE where there are churches.

I would sooner trust the devil than the declarations of the Saudi government. You’d be a fool to put any stock in anything they or any other Islamic government tells you, especially on religious matters. :mad:

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