Religion in Saudi Arabia

Religion in the country

Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia. No law requires residents to be Muslim, however, public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam is forbidden. Any non-Muslim attempting to acquire Saudi Arabian nationality must convert to Islam. Furthermore, Wahhabism is the official version of Sunni Islam and adherence to other strands even within Sunnism is restricted. Saudi Arabia has been criticized for its implementation of Islamic law and its human rights record. According to a 2012 online poll by WIN-Gallup International, 5% of 502 Saudi Arabians surveyed stated they were "convinced atheists".

Contents

Freedom of religion

Main article: Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia mostly colored in light blue (Sunni hanbali).

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy. Religious minorities do not have the right to practice their religion openly. Non-Muslim propagation is banned, and conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death as apostasy. Proselytizing by non-Muslims, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bibles, Bhagavad Gita, and Ahmedi Books are illegal. In late 2014 a law was promulgated calling for the death penalty for anyone bringing into the country "publications that have a prejudice to any other religious beliefs other than Islam" (thought to include non-Muslim religious books).

The annual report of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) tagged Saudi Arabia along with 15 other nations as “countries of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations ”.

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