Saudi Ayatollah Nimr Discusses Freedom of Religion in Saudi Arabia




"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a Wahabi theocratic monarchy in which Wahabi Islam is the official religion. Although no law requires citizens or passport holders to be Muslim, almost all citizens are Muslims. Proselytizing by non-Muslims is illegal, and conversion by Muslims to another religion (apostasy) carries the death penalty, although as of 2010 there have been no confirmed reports of executions for apostasy in recent years.
Religious freedom is virtually non-existent (ie. Shia Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc. do not have freedom to even carry their books). The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. 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. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited.  The Saudi Mutaween (Arabicمطوعين), or Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (i.e., the religious police) enforces the prohibition on the public practice of non-Muslim religions. Wahabi Sharia Law applies to all people inside Saudi Arabia, regardless of religion."

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