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» 03/31/2005
SAUDI ARABIA
Police razes clandestine Hindu temple in Riyadh, deports three people

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Saudi religious police last Tuesday destroyed a clandestine makeshift Hindu temple in an old district of Riyadh and deported three worshippers found there, Arabic daily al-Hayat reported.

Agents from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, better known as the Muttawah, stumbled across a room converted into a temple while raiding a number of flats suspected of being used to manufacture alcohol and distribute pornographic videos.

A caretaker who was found in the worshipping area ignored the religious police orders to stop performing his religious rituals and was deported along with two other men who arrived on the scene to worship. Their nationality was unknown

Saudi Arabia is host to 8.8 million foreigners, mostly workers, out of a population of 23 million. The largest communities are from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan (1 to 1.5 million).

All forms of non-Muslim worship are banned in the country and Wahhabism, one of the most fundamentalist forms of Islam, prevails.

Religious freedom does not exist although authorities have started tolerating non Muslim religious practices when conducted in the privacy of the home.

None the less, the Muttawah continues arresting non Muslims even when they worship in private at home.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom last month urged the US government to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia for its systematic violations of fundamental religious rights.

Last year the US State Department for the first time named the Saudi Kingdom one of the "countries of particular concern" in its annual report on religious freedom. (LF)

 

 


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See also
11/15/2005 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi teacher accused of "mocking" Islam
11/25/2004 SAUDI ARABIA
Christians arrested and persecuted in Saudi Arabia
11/25/2004 SAUDI ARABIA
The 'Save O'Connor' campaign, an example of Internet solidarity
11/25/2004 SAUDI ARABIA - INDIA
Brian O'Connor: "My story, a Christian in a Saudi jail"
by Nirmala Carvalho
11/03/2004 INDIA - SAUDI ARABIA
India's Christians elated by O'Connor's release

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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