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Fri 26 Apr 2013 12:33 PM

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Saudi to keep ban on churches – minister

Kingdom’s Justice Minister reiterates long-standing ban on non-Muslim places of worship

Saudi to keep ban on churches – minister
Members of the Saudi royal family perform prayer on the first day of Eid al-Fitr. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Saudi Arabia has no plans to lift a long-standing ban on the construction of non-Muslim places of worship, according the Gulf kingdom’s Minister of Justice.

In comments to Saudi media on Thursday, Mohammed Al-Issa said that the country is "home to the Muslim holy places, it does not allow the establishment of non-Muslim places of worship”. Al-Issa is currently on an official trip to Brussels.

The local population of Saudi Arabia, the GCC’s most populous nation and the world’s largest oil exporter, is predominantly Sunni Muslim, with a significant Shia’a minority in its Eastern Province.

The country is also home to a large expat Christian community, as well as Hindus.

Last year, the kingdom’s highest Islamic authority Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah drew enormous criticism from the world’s Christian population when he was quoted as saying it was “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region”.

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region.

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Mark 7 years ago

If Saudi's do "not allow the establishment of non-Muslim places of worship”, then it would be only fair if other no muslim countries do not allow the establishment of mosques.

Peter Peter 7 years ago

Its a new world out there. We are a thousand years further down the road of history. Now populations mix , races mix, religions mix, political ideologies mix. We can't live isolated lives. There is room in the world for everyone.

Roger 7 years ago

But we must tolerate mosques that are terrorist training establishments in our country.

Shafiqur Rahman 7 years ago

It is not right, other country has muslim and non muslim mixed nationality.
But in saudi Arabia there no mixing nationality, here is 100% Muslim.

Shafiqur Rahman 7 years ago

Saudi Arabia is 100% Muslim, (some are shia they are doing some mistake but their believe Islam and pray for Allah) no way to give any non Muslim religious activity in this land.
Those expert are coming here Saudi Arabia, everyone knows and accept Saudi Arabian Law than they are coming to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is Holly place for Whole Muslim over of the world. One single Muslim alive in the world till that time no one accept any non Muslim religion activity here in Saudi Arabia.
If someone expert non Muslim wishes to perform his religion activity they might perform inside their room.
we are not aginest non muslim brothers, if 0.001% non muslim are Saudi Nationality than quotion come for religion activity, Alhamdulillah in Saudi Arabia 0% are non muslim. This is controlling from Allah.

Hisham 7 years ago

This comment I do agree with, makes sense. No religion should be ever forced on anyone, it should be a free and well-informed choice of the individual.

Mohamed 7 years ago

This is exactly the source of all woes and worries of the World. Lack of Tolerance !! Only Allah can open up the Minds and Hearts of our Fanatics (sometimes disappointingly holding responsible positions0). Time to pray for a peaceful world which accepts Human Fraternity devoid of Race, Religion, Colour and Creed. Surely, the change is here ! Love to all. Peace to all. God Bless !