World Bulletin/News Desk
Jews and foreigners with other religions are allowed to work in Saudi Arabia, a Labor Ministry source was quoted as saying in a Saudi newspaper, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“It should be mentioned that the Saudi religious establishment is divided over the issue of foreign workers in the country, due to differing interpretations of a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad that states, ‘Remove the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula,’” said a report by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) on the issue.
The newspaper Al-Watan said on Tuesday that the Saudi Labor Ministry website that deals with foreign workers permits them to have religions including: Zoroastrianism, Communism, Judaism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and irreligion.
The Labor Ministry source said that people of any religion can enter and work in the country as the ministry’s work application focuses on the worker’s nationality.
“We bar entry [into Saudi Arabia] only to those with Israeli citizenship. Other than that, we are open to most nationalities and religions,” said the source. “For example, if a worker is a citizen of Yemen but practices Judaism, the [Saudi] Embassy [in Yemen] would not object to issuing him a work visa for the kingdom.”
Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee member Sadaqa bin Yahya Fadhel said, “We Muslims have no problem with the Jews.... Our biggest problem, as an Arab and Islamic nation, is with the Zionist movement and not with the Jews or Christians.”
“The ban must apply only to Israeli citizens, because Israel is linked to the Zionist movement, which is an imperialist colonialist movement that exploits the Jewish faith and is therefore unrelated to Judaism and is totally different from it,” said Fadhel, according to the report.
Shi'ites arrested for instigating unrest
Meanwhile, Saudi security forces have arrested a man believed to belong to a Shi'ite Muslim group blamed for instigating protests and unrest in the country's Eastern Province, the Interior Minsitry said on Friday.
Montadhar Ali Saleh Alsbaitiin was captured on Thursday night in Awamiya, a Shi'ite village that has been the focal point of unrest since protests in early 2011 that called for an end to discrimination and for democratic reforms in the Sunni-ruled monarchy.
He was one of 23 men wanted by Saudi authorities, who accuse them of serving the agenda of a foreign power -- usually a reference to its Shi'ite rival Iran.
Saudi Arabia's state news agency SPA, quoting the Interior Ministry spokesman, said no one was hurt in the operation. The security forces will track down the other suspects, he said, urging them to surrender.
In December, security forces killed four militants in eastern Saudi Arabia in a raid on a hideout used by gunmen who shot dead a policeman in the area earlier that month. The shootout was the deadliest incident in recent years in Awamiya.
Saudi Shi'ites complain it is harder for them to get government jobs than Sunnis, or to build places of worship, and say the kingdom's state-employed clergy use abusive language to describe their sect in sermons and religious text books.
The government denies discrimination and has accused Shi'ite activists involved in attacks on security officers or protests of working on behalf of a foreign power, widely understood to mean Iran. The activists and Tehran deny this.
Last Mod: 02 Ocak 2015, 13:30