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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
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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