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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN SAUDI ARABIA

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN SAUDI ARABIA

Country: 
Saudi Arabia
News Date: 
18/09/2009
Lancastrian
Summary: 
  • Saudi law is based on Sharia (Islamic) law41 and applies to both Muslims and non-Muslims in the country
  • Observing any religion other than Islam is illegal in the Kingdom.
  • Fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam is the only expression of religion allowed in Saudi Arabia. There is no religious freedom in the country, even if Saudi officials have been tolerating the private practice of other religions. However, the Saudi religion police, the Muttawa, continues to persecute Christians in their homes where they meet to pray.
  • Saudi Arabia frequently convicts persons for alleged insults to religion.
  • The Basic Law consists of 83 articles defining the strict, Saudi Islamic state. By declaring that Saudi Arabia is an Islamic state and by failing to make any provision for non-Islamic religious liberties, the Basic Law necessarily prohibits the practice of any religion other than Islam. The following articles demonstrate this fact:

ƒ Article 1: “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, Arabic is its language and Riyadh is its capital.”13

ƒ Article 7: “Government in Saudi Arabia derives power from the Holy Koran and the Prophet's tradition.”14

ƒ Article 8: “Government in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is based on the premise of justice, consultation, and equality in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah.”15

ƒ Article 12: “The consolidation of national unity is a duty, and the state will prevent anything that may lead to disunity, sedition and separation.”16

ƒ Article 23: “The state protects Islam; it implements its Shari'ah; it orders people to do right and shun evil; it fulfills the duty regarding God's call.”17

ƒ Article 26: “The state protects human rights in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah.”18

ƒ Article 33: “The state establishes and equips the Armed Forces for the defence of the Islamic religion, the Two Holy Places, society, and the citizen.”19

ƒ Article 48: “The courts will apply the rules of the Islamic Shari'ah in the cases that are brought before them, in accordance with what is indicated in the Book and the Sunnah, and statutes decreed by the Ruler which do not contradict the Book or the Sunnah.”20

ƒ Article 55: “The King carries out the policy of the nation, a legitimate policy in accordance with the provisions of Islam; the King oversees the implementation of the Islamic Shari'ah, the system of government, the state's general policies; and the protection and defence of the country.”21

ƒ Article 67: “The regulatory authority lays down regulations and motions to meet the interests of the state or remove what is bad in its affairs, in accordance with the Islamic Shari'ah. . . .”22