Although there are many foreign workers and Saudi citizens belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect in Saudi Arabia,[26][27][28][29] Ahmadis are officially banned from entering the country and from performing the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. Sadiq Malallah, a Shi'a Muslim from Saudi Arabia, was arrested in April 1988 and charged with throwing stones at a police patrol. [17] The Sri Lankan Embassy has rejected these reports. The Committee to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice (commonly called "religious police" or Mutawwa'in) is a government entity, and its chairman has ministerial status. Comprehensive statistics for the religious denominations of foreigners are not available, but they include Muslims from the various branches and schools of Islam, Christians (including Eastern Orthodox, Protestants, and Roman Catholics), Jews, more than 250,000 Hindus, more than 70,000 Buddhists, approximately 45,000 Sikhs, and others. Virtually all existing mosques in al-Ahsa were unable to obtain licenses and faced the threat of closure at any time and in other parts of the country were not allowed to build Shia-specific mosques. Legal sources report that testimony by Shi’a is often ignored in courts of law or is deemed to have less weight than testimony by Sunnis. Saudi Arabia International Religious Freedom Report 2005 Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. About 99.3% of Saudis are Sunni Muslims. Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia - Government and society: Saudi Arabia is a monarchy ruled by the Āl Saʿūd, a family whose status was established by its close ties with and support for the Wahhābī religious establishment. [60] In 2011, as in prior years, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) and security forces of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) conducted some raids on private non-Muslim religious gatherings and sometimes confiscated the personal religious materials of non-Muslims. I n a historic move last week, Saudi Arabia passed a legal ban on domestic violence and other form of abuse against women. The resort – to be called ‘The Red Sea’ – will form a semi-autonomous area and cover more than 200 miles across 50 islands off the western coast of the country. In its 50 years, there has not been a single non-Sunni Muslim diplomat in the embassy. [52], In 2003, Amir Taheri quoted a Shi'ite businessman from Dhahran as saying "It is not normal that there are no Shi'ite army officers, ministers, governors, mayors and ambassadors in this kingdom. Drug trafficking is always punished by death. Tourists visiting the country are not allowed to carry religious symbols such as the cross and the bible. Islam is the official religion, and the law requires that all citizens be Muslims. Their citizens enjoy little religious freedom. Shari a is enforced in Saud i Arab ia by muttawa, its religious police that seeks out and arrests violators to be flogged, imprisoned … Muslims or non-Muslims wearing religious symbols of any kind in public risk confrontation with the Mutawwa'in. The authorities permit the celebration of the Shi’a holiday of Ashura in the eastern province city of Qatif, provided that the celebrants do not undertake large, public marches or engage in self-flagellation (a traditional Shi’a practice). Religion affects all facets of life in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is unique in that it is a completely Islamic. code. Until March 1, 2004, the official government website stated that Jews were forbidden from entering the country. Freedom of religion is nonexistent in Saudi Arabia although the state guarantees and protect private worship for non-Muslims. Non-Muslim worshipers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging in overt religious activity that attracts official attention. "[56] Freedom House showed on its website, on a page tiled "Religious apartheid in Saudi Arabia", a picture of a sign showing Muslim-only and non-Muslim roads.[57]. No other Ashura celebrations are permitted in the country, and many Shi’a travel to Qatif or to Bahrain to participate in Ashura celebrations. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic absolute monarchy in which Sunni Islam is the official state religion based on firm Sharia law. [14], Under Saudi law conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death. Retrieved 2017-01-12, BBC News, "Pleas for condemned Saudi 'witch'", 14 February 2008. ", "Pilgrimage presents massive logistical challenge for Saudi Arabia", "Saudis struggle with conflict between fun and conformity", "Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents - Middle East - World", "Lankan mission slams false report on jailed maid", "Saudi, Lankan Officials Dismiss HRW Report on Maid Abuse", "Riyadh Journal; An Ambassador's Journey From Rome to Mecca", "Consular Information Sheet – Saudi Arabia", "Saudi religious police accused of beating pilgrims", "USCIRF Releases 2019 Annual Report and Recommendations for World's Most Egregious Violators of Religious Freedom", "ANNUAL REPORTOF THE U.S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM", "Saudi Arabia: 2 Years Behind Bars on Apostasy Accusation", "Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2007", "Conversion Prosecutions Rare to Muslims", "Saudi Arabia – An upsurge in public executions", 3/25/2010: Saudi Arabia: Release Hadi Al-Mutif, "Saudi Arabian columnist under threat for Twitter posts", "Mystery about controversial Saudi columnist's location deepens", "Sacrilegious Saudi writer arrested in Malaysia", "Saudi Writer Hamza Kashgari Detained in Malaysia Over Muhammad Tweets", "Malaysia may repatriate Saudi who faces death penalty for tweets", "Man 'sentenced to death for atheism' in Saudi Arabia", "based on the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, I'm rahaf mohmed, formally seeking a refugee status to any country that would protect me from getting harmed or killed due to leaving my religion and torture from my family", "Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada", "Saudi Arabia's 'Anti-Witchcraft Unit' breaks another spell", Treatment of Israel strikes an alien note. Saudi Arabia's cultural rules are based on ancient tradition and religious dictates. The press as well as government officials publicized the conversion of the Italian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Torquato Cardilli, in late 2001. [58][59] The 2007 U.S The U.S State Department International Religious Freedom (IRF) report detailed several cases in which bibles were confiscated in Saudi Arabia, but said that there were fewer reports in 2007 of government officials confiscating religious materials than in previous years and no reports that customs officials had confiscated religious materials from travelers. The celebrations are monitored by the police. Their religion is Islam officially therefore it is following Islamic Law (Shariah). Islam is the official religion. Sharia applies to all people inside Saudi Arabia, regardless of religion. However, these residents are not allowed to practice their religions if they are not Muslim. [20], The government requires noncitizen residents to carry a Saudi residence permit (Iqama) for identification in place of their passports. Among other information, these contain a religious designation for "Muslim" or "non-Muslim. Alan Dershowitz wrote in 2002, "in Saudi Arabia apartheid is practiced against non-Muslims, with signs indicating that Muslims must go to certain areas and non-Muslims to others. Saudi Arabia’s absolute monarchy restricts almost all political rights and civil liberties. Non-Muslims must practice their religion in private and are vulnerable to discrimination and deportation. The Saudi embassy in Washington is a living example of religious apartheid. Every pilgrim is required to make a pilgrimage journey to Mecca at least once in their lifetime. The kingdom is one of 23 countries out of 198 included in the study to earn this distinction, along with countries like China, Egypt and Iran. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Muhammad, Quran, Islam and the Sharia Law. [1] According to the U.S. Department of State's 2013 Report on International Religious Freedom, there have been 'no confirmed reports of executions for either apostasy or blasphemy' between 1913 and 2013.[1]. Forced conversion, as per the principles of Islam is not allowed[62][63], In July 2012, two men who had evangelized a young woman who subsequently converted to Christianity were arrested in the Saudi Gulf city Al-Khabar, on charges of "forcible conversion". Catholics and Orthodox Christians, who require a priest on a regular basis to receive the sacraments required by their faith, particularly are affected. As a matter of policy, the government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. SAUDI ARABIA 2018 INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM REPORT Executive Summary According to the 1992 Basic Law of Governance, the country’s official religion is Islam and the constitution is the Quran and Sunna (traditions and practices based on the life of the Prophet Muhammad). The government restricts employment of Shi’a in the oil and petrochemical industries. in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia. [1] In July 2012 the Bodu Bala Sena, an extremist Buddhist organization based in Sri Lanka, reported that Premanath Pereralage Thungasiri, a Sri Lankan Buddhist employed in Saudi Arabia, had been arrested for worshiping the Buddha in his employer's home, and that plans were being made to behead him. [19], The government has stated publicly, including before the U.N. Committee on Human Rights in Geneva, that its policy is to protect the right of non-Muslims to worship privately. [1] It has been stated that no law requires all citizens to be Muslim,[1] but also that non-Muslims are not allowed to have (gain?) state, and Shari'a law governs all aspects of the criminal law. The primary source of law in Saudi Arabia is based on Sharia (Islamic law), with Shari'a courts basing their judgments largely on a code derived from the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Saudi Arabia wants to relax its strict religious laws in a bid to attract tourists - Lonely Planet The Sunni Islam believe that Prophet Muhammad designated Mecca as the holy city and all Muslims should face its direction when praying. The regime relies on pervasive surveillance, the criminalization of dissent, appeals to sectarianism and ethnicity, and public spending supported by oil revenues to maintain power. Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s worst religious freedom and human rights records. Based on these severe violations of religious freedom, USCIRF again recommends in 2015 that Saudi Arabia be designated Since 2004, Saudi Arabia has been designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 for having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom. To express the policy of the United States to ensure the divestiture... "Saudi Arabian Government Confiscates Non-Islamic Religious Items That Enter Country", "International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Saudi Arabia", "Two men arrested for "forced conversion" of a young woman: they gave her religious books", Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The legal system is based largely on sharia Congressional Human Rights Caucus (2002). Freedom of religion is not illegal, but spreading the religion is illegal. In an effort to increase tourism, Saudi Arabia has drawn up plans to open a beach resort where the country’s strict religious laws and conservatism will not apply. It recognizes the Sunni Islam as the official religion and Sharia law as the legislature. He was then transferred to al-Mabahith al-'Amma Prison in Riyadh, where he remained until the date of his execution. [10] Contrary practices, such as celebrating Maulid Al-Nabi (birthday of the Prophet Muhammad) and visits to the tombs of renowned Muslims, are forbidden, although enforcement was more relaxed in some communities than in others, and Shi'a were permitted to observe Ashura publicly in some communities.[1]. Sentencing under the legal system is not uniform. Outside Saudi Arabia, this branch of Islam is often referred to as "Wahhabi," a term the Saudis do not use. However, non-Muslim organizations have claimed that there are no explicit guidelines for distinguishing between public and private worship, such as the number of persons permitted to attend and the types of locations that are acceptable. This form of religious apartheid is as intolerable as was apartheid based on race. The Saudi government communized Islam, through its monopoly of both religious thoughts and practice. The law recognizes the children born to Saudi fathers as Muslims and must be integrated into Islamic culture. In some cases, they also are sentenced to receive lashes prior to deportation. The Saudi government has lifted several religious restrictions on women’s rights and passed a parliamentary bill restricting child marriages. Those violating the law are handed harsh punishments. [2] Children born to Muslim fathers are by law deemed Muslim, and conversion from Islam to another religion is considered apostasy and punishable by death. Sunni religious leaders receive monthly stipends while other religious leaders are not entitled the same. Non-Muslims are not permitted entry into Mecca's Holy Ka’ba area and its immediate surroundings. In Saudi Arabia, human rights are based off the Hanbali Islamic religious laws, which are under absolute rule of the Saudi royal family. In January 2019, 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed fled Saudi Arabia after having renounced Islam and being abused by her family. For many reasons, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter … ", Members of the Shi’a minority are the subjects of officially sanctioned political and economic discrimination. The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia's treatment of religious minorities has been described as religious apartheid by both Saudi Arabian and non-Saudi critics alike. Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Wahhabi sect does not tolerate other religious or ideological beliefs, Muslim or not. [1], Proselytizing by non-Muslims, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bibles, is illegal. 4Government restrictions on religion are very high in Saudi Arabia, according to a 2017 Pew Research Center report that looked at religious restrictions as of 2015. All citizens of the country must be Muslims and conversion to other religions is punishable by law. The Saudi Mutaween (Arabic: مطوعين‎), or Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (i.e., the religious police) was enforcing the prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions, though its powers were significantly curtailed in April 2016. Under the law, children born to Muslim fathers are also Muslim, regardless of the country or the religious tradition in which they have been raised. The official form of Islam is Sunni of the Hanbali school, in its Salafi version. Saudi Arabia doesn’t have any kind of law. The Saudi Ministry of Education Islamic studies textbooks ... continue to promote an ideology of hatred that teaches bigotry and deplores tolerance. Saudi Arabia will begin welcoming Western tourists soon, so it's important for travelers to know about local cultural rules and religious practices before going. According to Article 1 of the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia (its equivalent to a constitution), “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion; God’s Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet (God’s prayers and peace be upon him) are its constitution.” "[53], In 2007, Saudi religious police detained Shiite pilgrims participating in the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, allegedly calling them "infidels in Mecca and Medina".[23]. "[55], On 14 December 2005, Republican Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Representative Shelley Berkley introduced a bill in Congress urging American divestiture from Saudi Arabia, and giving as its rationale (among other things) "Saudi Arabia is a country that practices religious apartheid and continuously subjugates its citizenry, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to a specific interpretation of Islam. The country that most strictly applies the Sharia law is also Saudi Arabia, which does not have a parallel civil legal code: Shari a is the de facto Constitution of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia announced… A new luxury resort called the Red Sea Project is planned for 2022 and will operate outside Saudi Arabia's strict religious laws. Writers and other individuals who publicly criticize this interpretation, including both those who advocate a stricter interpretation and those who favor a more moderate interpretation than the government's, have reportedly been imprisoned and faced other reprisals. In 2006, they formed around 15% of the native population. Private religious schools are permitted for non-Muslims or for Muslims adhering to unofficial interpretations of Islam. [8] Additionally, traditional tribal law and custom remain significant. A minority of citizens are Shia Muslims. Laws and regulations state that defendants should be treated equally; however, under Shari’a as interpreted and applied in the country, crimes against Muslims may result in harsher penalties than those against non-Muslims. Freedoms of speech, press, or worship are virtually nonexistent. Such lack of clarity, as well as instances of arbitrary enforcement by the authorities, obliges most non-Muslims to worship in such a manner as to avoid discovery. The Ka'ba (House of God) is the most sacred point in the Islamic faith, and it is located in Mecca. [22] Such materials are subject to confiscation. Sunni Islam is the only religion that is allowed to practice religion publicly, the Mutaween (religious police) enforce this law and prosecute all those that contradict it. The foreign population in the country, including many undocumented migrants, may exceed 12 million. Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents. [1] As of 2010[update], he was still in prison, had alleged physical abuse and mistreatment during his years of incarceration, and had reportedly made numerous suicide attempts. In 2002 observance of Ashura took place without incident in Qatif. The girl's father had laid charges against the two men after he failed to convince the young woman to return home from Lebanon and abandon her new faith. Sharia Law in Saudi Arabia. In the cities themselves, road checks are randomly conducted. The state does not legally recognize the freedom religion and neither the state government nor the society recognizes the separation of religion and the state. By Kenneth Kimutai too on July 30 2018 in Society. Saudi Arabia is a devoutly Islamic country and still governed under strict Sharia law, which is derived from several Islamic texts including the Quran. These texts continue to instruct students to hold a dualistic worldview in which there exist two incompatible realms – one consisting of true believers in Islam ... and the other the unbelievers – realms that can never coexist in peace. [24][25], Ahmadis are persecuted in Saudi Arabia on an ongoing basis. [47], Saudi Arabia uses the death penalty for crimes of sorcery and witchcraft and claims that it is doing so in "public interest".[48][49][50][51]. [1], Under the provisions of Shari’a law as practiced in the country, judges may discount the testimony of people who are not practicing Muslims or who do not adhere to the official interpretation of Islam. If an act is committed within Saudi Arabia which is suspected to be ‘haram’, or capable of leading the perpetrator away from the Islamic faith, then this is enough for a trial to take place. Saudi Arabia is explicitly an Islamic state, with no separation between state and religion. Anyone who is looking to attain Saudi Arabian citizenship is required to convert to Islam. Alcohol of … [22], Islamic religious education is mandatory in public schools at all levels. After fleeing Mecca, Muhammad traversed to Medina, the second holiest city after Mecca, and established his first congregation of followers in the city at what is now recognized as the "The Prophet's Mosque." Local laws and customs Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country in which Islamic law is strictly enforced. This gender inequality in. The country has monopolized religion, and there is no tolerance of other religions beliefs, ideologies, and symbols. [54] Prejudice against Jews is fairly high in the kingdom. Conversion to another religion in Saudi Arabia is considered an act of apostasy and a crime punishable by death although life sentence is the most applicable form of punishment used. The desert kingdom falls in this top category of restrictions because it meets many of the Centers criteria; for example, the constitution doesnt allow for religious freedom, the government interferes with worship pr… Although the state has publicly claimed that it is protecting the rights of non-Muslims to worship privately, human rights and non-Muslim organization have claimed that the state does not provide the guidelines to private or public worships and frequently arrest non-Muslims. The constitution of Saudi Arabia, which is based on the Quran and the Sunna, establishes the country as an Arab Islamic State. Islamic practice generally is limited to that of a school of the Sunni branch of Islam as interpreted by Muhammad ibn Abd al Wahhab, an 18th-century Arab religious scholar. [35], On 3 September 1992, Sadiq 'Abdul-Karim Malallah was publicly beheaded in Al-Qatif in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province after being convicted of apostasy and blasphemy. [1] The 2013 IRF report also reports no confiscation of bibles, and stated: The government allows religious materials for personal use; customs officials and the CPVPV do not have the authority to confiscate personal religious materials. based on the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol, I'm rahaf mohmed, formally seeking a refugee status to any country that would protect me from getting harmed or killed due to leaving my religion and torture from my family. A majority of Saudi citizens are Salafi Muslims, and the strict interpretation of Islam taught by the Salafi or Wahhabi (historically known as Sufyani in early Islam but now named as Salafi) sect is the only officially recognized religion. [15] The Committee sends out armed and unarmed people into the public to ensure that Saudi citizens and expatriates living in the kingdom follow the Islamic mores, at least in public. The government’s stated policy for its diplomatic and consular missions abroad is to inform foreign workers applying for visas they have the right to worship privately and possess personal religious materials. Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state where the Saudi government makes rules according to different aspects of Islamic teaching. The government seldom permits private construction of Shi’a mosques. Its constitution lacks the type of guarantees found in … Propagation of other faiths is banned. In Islam that laws are to be followed and practice strictly, hence they are so strict with it. No officials at the national level are elected. [18] In the past, Sri Lankan officials have also rejected reports regarding labor conditions issued by New York-based Human Rights Watch. [1] According to a Gallup poll, 19% of Saudis are not religious and 5% are atheists. The practice of religions other than Islam in public is not allowed. [21] Even though the Minority Shi’a are allowed to celebrate their holiday of Ashura, they are not allowed to hold large celebratory events or gather in large numbers to celebrate the event. The judge reportedly asked him to convert from Shi'a Islam to Sunni Wahhabi Islam, and allegedly promised him a lighter sentence if he complied. All maps, graphics, flags, photos and original descriptions © 2020 worldatlas.com, Saudi Arabia's Ethnic Groups And Nationalities. Types Of Crimes By Number Of Offenses In The US. Despite the total reliance on Shari'a law, as espoused in Article 1. of the Constitution, the system of criminal law has evolved so. The state does not legally recognize the freedom religion and neither the state government nor the society recognizes the separation of religion and the state. Due to the strict regime of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, human rights in the nation have been ranked some of the worst in the world. The Ministry pays the salaries of imams (prayer leaders) and others who work in the mosques. Sadiq Malallah is believed to have been involved in efforts to secure improved rights for Saudi Arabia's Shi'a Muslim minority. The county is opposed to the Muslim reforms of the 21st Century that seek to reinterpret the Islamic Law to recognize the social and economic developments, personal autonomy, gender relations, and democracy. Non-Muslims are also strictly banned from the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina. Religious symbols by Muslims, Christians, Jews and other believers are all banned. (More than 30% of the population is made up of foreign workers who are predominantly but not entirely Muslim.) All academic institution in the country practices Islamic religious beliefs regardless of the student’s personal beliefs. The constitution of Saudi Arabia, which is based on the Quran and the Sunna, establishes the country as an Arab Islamic State. Information regarding government practices was generally incomplete because judicial proceedings usually were not publicized or were closed to the public, despite provisions in the criminal procedure law requiring court proceedings to be open. The government prohibits the public practice of other religions but the government generally allows private practice of non-Muslim religions. [5][6][7], Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy and the government has declared the Qur'an and the Sunnah (tradition) of Muhammad to be the country’s Constitution. [1], Customs officials regularly open postal material and cargo to search for non-Muslim materials, such as Bibles and religious videotapes. Saudi Arabia prohibits public non-Muslim religious activities. The Ministry of Islamic Affairs supervises and finances the construction and maintenance of almost all mosques in the country, although over 30% of all mosques in Saudi Arabia are built and endowed by private persons. [64], Segregation in countries by type (in some countries, categories overlap), harvnb error: no target: CITEREFIRF2013 (, "Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism" (PDF) Gallup. Saudi Arabia is a theocratic state. What is the Law in Saudi Arabia? The very small non-Muslim population that lives in Saudi Arabia is mostly made up of foreign workers. [1], In 2007, Saudi religious police detained Shiite pilgrims participating in the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, allegedly calling them "infidels in Mecca and Medina"[23], The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its 2019 report named Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom. Apply its precepts and, in its Salafi version severely restricted in practice ’ in! Islamic studies textbooks... continue to repress and discriminate against dissident clerics and members of offices! Applies to all people inside Saudi Arabia passed a legal system based on ancient tradition and religious.... 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saudi arabia religious laws

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