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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

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Easter: The silence of the innocent and the gag
by Bernardo CervelleraViolations of religious freedom and the West's hypocricy surrounding this issue are likely to drag the world into an unprecedented chaos. But even in silence - of death accepted for love or death inflicted by power - God is at work. An indestructible hope rises on Easter morning and a small opening of the heart is just enough for it to invade a lifetime. Happy Easter.
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Time for a deal with Tehran, a reliable partner against the Islamic State group
by Bernardo Cervellera A framework agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue has to be inked by 31 March. US Republicans, Israel and Saudi Arabia are fiercely opposed to it for ulterior motives. Hassan Rouhani wants Iran to come back into the international fold. Tehran is playing a mediating role in the Middle East. For Vatican nuncio, “there is no evidence that Iran is preparing a nuclear bomb.”

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