Monday, September 20, 2004

U.S. Says Saudis Repress Religion

The United States for the first time named Saudi Arabia yesterday as a country that severely violates religious freedom, potentially subjecting the close U.S. ally to sanctions.

'Freedom of religion does not exist' in Saudi Arabia, the State Department said in its annual report on international religious freedom. 'Freedom of religion is not recognized or protected under the country's laws and basic religious freedoms are denied to all but those who adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam,' the report said, adding that 'non-Muslim worshippers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation and sometimes torture.'"