Saudi Arabia told: ‘Christians are not second-class citizens’

There are no churches in Saudi Arabia and Christians have to meet in secret. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A senior Vatican official told Saudi officials during a visit last week that Christians must not be treated as second-class citizens. “During my meetings, I insisted very much on this point, that Christians and non-Muslims are spoken of well in schools and that they are never considered second-class citizens,” the . . . Read More

Saudi school textbooks still ‘promote hatred toward religious minorities’ – USCIRF

A school complex in Medina, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr; CC 2.0)
School textbooks in Saudi Arabia still include content “promoting violence and hatred toward religious minorities and others”, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Even though the Saudi government has been “engaged in textbook reform for the last 15 years”, a new study by USCIRF found . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia to ban ‘extremist ideologies’ from schools and universities

Sign portraying Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wants to be known as a reformist, in the capital Riyad. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Saudi Arabia has pledged to ban the “extremist ideologies” espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood from school curricula and books, and to dismiss staff who support the group’s views. In a statement released on Tuesday (20 March), the Minister of Education, Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Isa, said the ministry is working to . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?
The political landscape in the strict Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is changing, and quickly. A charismatic crown prince seems determined to modernise his country and even speaks of a shift towards a more “moderate” Islam. But will the changes taking place in Saudi also ease the situation for members . . . Read More

How serious is Saudi Arabia about religious freedom?

How serious is Saudi Arabia about religious freedom?
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, says he wants to move his conservative Muslim country towards a more moderate version of Islam, but how serious is he about religious freedom? Speaking at a conference for investors in Riyadh last month the 32-year-old Crown Prince said the conservative version of . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia to reopen ancient church as ‘gift’ to visiting Lebanese Patriarch

Saudi Arabia to reopen ancient church as ‘gift’ to visiting Lebanese Patriarch
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has reportedly announced plans to restore and re-open a 900-year-old church as a “gift” to the Lebanese Patriarch. The church is to be used as a centre for inter-religious dialogue, according to Catholic news agency Fides. The Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros al-Rai, has . . . Read More