The Saudi government forbids the practice of any religion other than the state-sanctioned interpretation of Islam (Wahhabism). Worship for Muslims in Saudi Arabia is compulsory and during times of worship, all shops, restaurants, radio and television stations must close. Those who do not comply are subject to interrogation, humiliation, imprisonment and flogging. If non-Muslims are caught practicing their faiths in public, they are routinely taken to filthy detention centers and left to languish under harsh conditions. If they are foreigners, they remain in these conditions until they are deported. If religious prisoners come before a court, they face a biased judicial system staffed by extremist judges, who consider non-Muslims and religious minorities to be infidels.
The Saudi government uses religion as a tool of political, social, economic, and psychological oppression. Religion is used to justify tyrannical rule, reject democracy and impose severe censorship on the flow of information into and out of the country under the pretense of protecting Islam from the immoral values of “infidels.”
As host to the birthplace of Islam and the home of its holy shrines in Mecca and Medina, the Saudi ruling dynasty exerts disproportionate religious influence throughout Arab and Muslim communities worldwide. The official state religion, Wahhabism, advocates intolerance and depicts democracy as antithetical to God’s will and power. Unless the international community takes concrete measures to discourage the Saudi institutions from promoting religious hatred the consequences could be catastrophic.
FIND OUT MORE
CDHR's campaign for religious freedom in Saudi Arabia
More on religious freedom from CDHR's Blog