On the assumption that Saudi Arabia produces at its agreed level under the current OPEC+ agreement in 2019H2, real oil GDP growth is projected at 0.7 percent in 2019 and overall real GDP growth at 1.9 percent. Dhahran (Al-Ẓahrān), near the Persian Gulf coast in Al-Sharqiyyah province, is the administrative centre of Saudi Aramco (Arabian-American Oil Company), and nearby Al-Khubar and Al-Dammām are important commercial coastal towns. Women in Saudi Arabia are prohibited from taking part in many aspects of public life. Ava Morkos was originally invited to Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in March 2018. At the same time, it has tourist attractions of such cultural heft as Mecca and Medina, the most sacred destinations for Muslim travelers and pilgrims. [42][37] According to scholar Bernard Lewis, the Saudi Arabian policy of excluding non-Muslim from permanent residence in the Arabian peninsula is a continuation of an old and widely accepted Muslim policy: The classical Arabic historians tell us that in the year 20 after the hijra (Muhammad's move from Mecca to Medina), corresponding to 641 of the Christian calendar, the Caliph Umar decreed that Jews and Christians should be removed from Arabia to fulfill an injunction Muhammad uttered on his deathbed: "Let there not be two religions in Arabia." ... the Jews and Christians of Arabia were resettled on lands assigned to them – the Jews in Syria, the Christians in Iraq. Religious minorities do not have the right to practice their religion. Reigns of Saud ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz and Fayṣal (1953–75), Saudi Arabia under Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah (1982–2005), Foreign policy since the end of the Persian Gulf War, Reign of King Salman ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAziz from 2015. The country’s once small Jewish population is now apparently extinct. Other religions are practiced among foreign workers. As of June, Riyadh has already executed over 100 people, with six months left in 2019. Shiʿis, adherents of the second major branch of Islam, make up a small portion of the population and are found mostly in the oases of Al-Hasa and Al-Qaṭīf in the eastern part of the country. Saudi Arabia’s oil exports dropped by 10.75 percent year on year in 2019, according to data from the Joint Organisations Data Initiative (JODI), as carried by local news outlet Mubasher.. "Fr. On October 30, 2019October 30, 2019 By admin_admin. Article 1 of the law also conflated atheism and religious dissent, outlawing "calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based". The last Article IV Executive Board Consultation was on July 10, 2019. [31][32] Private prayer services are suppressed, and the Saudi Arabian religious police reportedly regularly search the homes of Christians. [32] Religious inequality extends to compensation awards in court cases. [12] Religious minorities do not have the right to practice their religion. If Saudi Arabia increases oil production, then oil GDP growth would be higher (as would export and fiscal revenues). Wahhābism, as it is called in the West (members refer to themselves as muwaḥḥidūn, “unitarians”), is a strict interpretation of the Ḥanbalī school of Islamic jurisprudence and is named for Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb (1703–92), a religious scholar whose alliance with Ibn Saud led to the establishment of the first Saʿūdī state. Al-Jubayl on the Gulf and Yanbuʿ on the Red Sea are the terminus points of oil and gas pipelines, and large petrochemical industrial complexes are located in both. With coastlines on two seas, Saudi Arabia boasts some of the world's top scuba diving locations. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. It is unknown how many Ahmadis there are in the country, as Ahmadis are not recognized by Saudi Arabia. [46] Examples of those so condemned (but not executed) are, In February/March 2014, a series of new anti-terrorism laws were decreed. When it doesn't, the kingdom will be stuck between a rock and a very hard place. Some Arabs, particularly early arrivals, have been naturalized, but most are temporary, albeit often long-term, residents. Saudi Arabia ranked first for islam > percentage muslim amongst Muslim countries in 2004. ... non-Muslims are not allowed to have Saudi citizenship and non-Muslim places of worship are not permitted (2013) Turkey ranked first for islam > percentage muslim amongst Europe in 2004. The Institute for Gulf Studies found that Saudi textbooks in 2019 were still teaching students that “Christians, Jews, and other Muslims are ‘enemies’ of the true believer, and to befriend and show respect only to other true believers, specifically the Wahhabis.” Saudi Arabia executions spike in 2019 – with 134 crucified and beheaded including six who were kids when arrested Jenny Awford , US Digital Editor 16 Sep 2019, 4:22 "The rise of atheism in Saudi Arabia, where talking about atheism is illegal", " السعودية: إغلاق 850 موقعاً إلحادياً خلال 16 شهراً", Council of Economic and Development Affairs, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (central bank), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Religion_in_Saudi_Arabia&oldid=991809486, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2020, Articles to be expanded from November 2020, Articles with empty sections from November 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at 22:54. [46] According to some estimates, Saudi Arabia is claimed to have the highest rate of atheists in the Arab World and is the first Muslim-majority country to have its atheist population exceed five per cent. The current government of Saudi Arabia (i.e., the Saʿūd family) has largely relied on religion—including its close and continuing ties to Wahhābism and its status as the custodian of Mecca and Medina, the two holy cities of Islam—to establish its political legitimacy. A major demographic theme since the early 20th century has been the government’s policy of settling the Bedouin. But the 32-year-old heir to the throne also has begun to soften the kingdoms strict religious rules with a promise to return to moderate Islam. From Kazakhstan and Helsinki to Maldives and Timbuktu, sort fact from fiction while sorting through the countries and capitals in this quiz. Although the U.S. State Department has designated Saudi Arabia as a CPC since 2004, most recently in November 2018, an indefinite waiver has been in place since 2006. Saudi Arabia is encouraging the growth of the private sector in order to diversify its economy and to employ more Saudi nationals. However, the Saudi government does not release regular statistics regarding this information, resulting in varied estimates by outside agencies. Moreover, most of these are unaccompanied males who have left their families in their native land; this situation is particularly true for lower-paid workers. [56] According to some, the growth of atheism and irreligion in the kingdom [57][58][59], A commission set up by the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in 2014 to tackle 'cyber criminals' operating in the kingdom received reports of 2,734 cases of sites based in Saudi Arabia promulgating atheist sentiment. The only Christians are foreign workers and businessmen. Importing larger quantities than this can carry severe penalties. Saudi Arabia Demographics Profile 2019. Other Muslims such as the Shi’ite Muslims are not allowed to practice the religion or serve in any state office including the public service. [29][30], As no faith other than Islam is permitted to be practiced, no churches, temples, or other non-Muslim houses of worship are permitted in the country although there are nearly a million Christians as well as Hindus and Buddhists—nearly all foreign workers—in Saudi Arabia. The major areas of population are in the central Hejaz, in Asir, in central Najd, and near the Persian Gulf. There have also been some complaints of destruction of Hindu religious items by Saudi Arabian authorities. Non-Muslim propagation is banned, and conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death as apostasy. Israel ranked first for islam > percentage muslim amongst High income OECD countries in 2004. December 15, 2018. [1] No law requires residents to be Muslim,[2] however, public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam is forbidden. The police arrested the priest and another person. The process was also gradual rather than sudden, and there are reports of Jews and Christians remaining in Khaybar and Najran for some time after Umar's edict. In modern times, the Wahhābī interpretation of Sunni Islam has been especially influential, and Muslim scholars espousing that sect’s views have been a major social and political force. Public displays by non-Wahhābī Muslim groups, including by other Sunni sects, have been limited and even banned by the government. The Kaaba surrounded by pilgrims during the hajj, Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It did not include southern and southeastern Arabia, which were not seen as part of Islam's holy land. Export of goods from Saudi Arabia 2019. Saudi Arabia is the 51 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries, according to the 2019 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International. ", "SAUDI ARABIA IMPOSES DEATH SENTENCE FOR BIBLE SMUGGLING", "ANNUAL REPORTOF THE U.S. COMMISSION ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM", "USCIRF Releases 2019 Annual Report and Recommendations for World's Most Egregious Violators of Religious Freedom", "Pilgrimage presents massive logistical challenge for Saudi Arabia", "Saudi Arabia: 2 Years Behind Bars on Apostasy Accusation", The Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the Victorian world, The Arabian Nights: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (1001 Nights ...), "Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2013", "Saudi Arabia extends hand of friendship to Pope", "Saudi Arabia: International Religious Freedom Report 2010", "License to Kill: Usama bin Ladin's Declaration of Jihad", "Foreign travel advice. The population comprised 57.48 per cent males and 42.52 per cent females in 2017, with 135 males for every 100 females. But the decree was final and irreversible, and from then until now the holy land of the Hijaz has been forbidden territory for non-Muslims. The majority of Saudi Arabia’s oil in 2018 went to countries in Asia — particularly Japan, China, South Korea and India. 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). Somalia ranked first for islam > percentage muslim amongst Former British colonies in 2004. [46] Traditionally, influential conservative clerics have used the label ‘atheist’ to apply not to those who profess to believe that God does not exist, but to "those who question their strict interpretations of Islamic scriptures or express doubts about" Wahhabism. Saudi Arabia (MNN) – According to several human rights watchdog groups, Saudi Arabia will likely execute more people in 2019 than any other year this decade. [31] Saudi Arabia has officially identified atheists as terrorists. New tourist regulations allow for one Bible to be brought into the country for personal use only. A significant percentage of the nation's inhabitants are immigrants seeking economic opportunity, making up 37% of the total Saudi population. Most are Twelver, although there remain small numbers of Ismāʿīlīs. [33], Proselytizing by non-Muslims is illegal,[32] and conversion by Muslims to another religion (apostasy) carries the death penalty (though there have been no confirmed reports of executions for apostasy in recent years). While Saudi Arabia does allow non-Muslims to live in Saudi Arabia to work, they may not practice religion publicly. In 2017, the population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was about 32.55 million, compared to 31.47 million according to the demographic survey of 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 2.52 per cent, according to the General Authority for Statistics.. 9 December 2019, the report assesses Saudi Arabia’s fiscal and economic developments, and describes the progress the country has made in diversifying the economy. It states that they are being "denied pastoral care ... Catechism for their children – nearly 100,000 – is banned." by Sani Tukur. نسبة الإلحاد مرتفعة في السعودية والسلطات تعتبره إرهابا (in Arabic). Sufism, for instance, is not openly practiced, nor is celebration of the Prophet’s birthday (mawlid). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the fourth largest state in the Arab world, with a reported population of 33,413,660 as of 2018. For many reasons, non-Muslims are not permitted to enter the holy cities although some Western non-Muslims have been able to enter, disguised as Muslims.[24][25]. [39] A 2006 report in Asia News states that there are "at least one million" Roman Catholics in the kingdom. Corruption Rank in Saudi Arabia averaged 61.53 from 2003 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 80 in 2008 and a record low of 46 in 2003. Listed below are items related to Saudi Arabia. [14][15][16], 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 [of religious freedom]”. 2 min read [7][8] According to a 2012 online poll by WIN-Gallup International, 5% of 502 Saudi Arabians surveyed stated they were "convinced atheists". Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia - Religion: Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and most of its natives are adherents of the majority Sunni branch. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Thanks partly to the government’s policies promoting large families and partly to its large investment in health care, the country’s birth rate is well above the world average. The Prophet's Mosque, Medina, Saudi Arabia. More than four-fifths of Saudi Arabia’s total population live in cities, and almost all of the rest live in government-supported agricultural enterprises. This practice has largely been successful, though sedentary Bedouin remain strongly attached to their tribal affiliation. Home > Factbook > Countries > Saudi Arabia. [31] In 2007, Human Rights Watch requested that King Abdullah stop a campaign to round up and deport foreign followers of the Ahmadiyya faith. Since his father became Saudi Arabias king in 2015, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has taken dramatic steps to change his countrys political and economic life. Subregions in Asir are formed by the oasis cluster of Najrān—a highland area north of Yemen—and by the coastal plain, the Tihāmah. [28] Shias also face discrimination in employment and restrictions are imposed on the public celebration of Shia festivals such as Ashura and on the Shia taking part in communal public worship. Hajj 2019: Saudi Arabia announces new measures for hajj. A second major theme has been an influx of foreign workers (first foreign Arabs and later workers from other regions) since the 1950s; no exact numbers are available, but it is generally agreed that these foreign workers have numbered in the millions. [6] Saudi Arabia has been criticized for its implementation of Islamic law and its human rights record. ... Saudi Arabia has reportedly used commercially available surveillance technologies to hack into … Nomadism, the form of land use with which the kingdom is traditionally associated, has become virtually nonexistent, and the pattern of extensive land use traditionally practiced by the nomadic Bedouin has been supplanted by the highly intensive patterns of urban land use. For comparison, this surpasses 2015, in which the government killed 158. The Hejaz, in the northwest, contains Mecca and Medina, as well as one of the kingdom’s primary ports, Jiddah. It reports the arrest of a Catholic priest for saying mass in 2006. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia implemented significant cuts in oil production in 2019, as part of an OPEC+ agreement. Al-Hasa, in the east along the Persian Gulf, includes the principal petroleum-producing areas. Islam is the country religion of Saudi Arabia. But at times he and the royal family have come under criticism for failing to do so. George [Joshua] had just celebrated mass in a private house when seven religious policemen (muttawa) broke into the house together with two ordinary policemen. Saudi Arabia has the lowest reported poverty rate in the Middle East and the 10th lowest poverty rate in the world at 12.7 percent, as of 2017. [21] According to official statistics, 70–85% of Saudi Arabian citizens are Sunni Muslims, 10–15% are Shia. [37], As of 2001, there were an estimated 1,500,000 Indian nationals in Saudi Arabia,[43] most of them Muslims, but some Hindus. The country has monopolized religion, and there is no tolerance of other religions beliefs, ideologies, and symbols. This paper is intended to analyse the shifting power dynamics in Saudi Arabia and, more specifically, how they are affecting the Saudi … The people in question were the Jews of the oasis of Khaybar in the north and the Christians of Najran in the south. Saudi Arabia: import of goods (in billion U.S. dollars) 141.89bn USD Detailed statistics. ... 2019. The largest towns are cosmopolitan in character, and some are associated with dominant functions: Mecca and Medina are religious, Riyadh is political and administrative, and Jiddah is commercial. [44][45], Disbelief in God is a capital offense in the kingdom. Saudi Arabia.Local laws and customs", "For First Time Ever, Christian Mass Held Openly In Saudi Arabia (Special dispatch 7795)", On Saudi Arabia: Its People, past, Religion, Fault Lines and Future, "Persecuted for Praying to God in Saudi Arabia", "Catholic priest arrested and expelled from Riyadh", Report of the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora. Compared with European expulsions, Umar's decree was both limited and compassionate. Although large numbers of Saudi citizens travel abroad for school or holiday, the number of those settling abroad is relatively small. [3][4] Any non-Muslim attempting to acquire Saudi Arabian nationality must convert to Islam. Saudi GDP at current prices amounted to SR2.974 trillion in 2019 - up by about 0.8 percent from a year earlier. [23] The two holiest cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina, are in Saudi Arabia. [51][52] News agencies such as Alhurra,[53] Saurress[54] and the American performance-management consulting company Gallup[55] have reported that 5–9% of the Saudi Arabian citizenry are atheists. [41], In 2018, it was reported that the religious police had stopped enforcing the ban on Christians religious services anywhere in the Kingdom whether publicly or privately, and for the first time, a "documented Christian service" was openly conducted. Religion of Saudi Arabia Research Papers In the Religion of Saudi Arabia, the foundation for the idea of justice is provided by the coherence and consonance that marks all the Universe, arranges the parts of … The Shiʿah have suffered the greatest persecution. Najd occupies a large part of the interior and includes the capital, Riyadh. Public worship and display by non-Muslim faiths is prohibited. Saudi Arabia has experienced a population explosion in the last 40 years, and continues to grow at a rate of 1.63% per year. While the official charge was “mixing with the opposite sex” — a crime for unrelated people in Saudi Arabia — the offenders complained they were arrested for praying as Christians. The king is supposed to uphold Islam and apply its precepts and, in turn, is subject to its constraints. Top 15 Facts about Poverty in Saudi Arabia. Among the changes hes spearheaded: granting women the right to drive, reintroducing cinemas and curbing the sweeping pow… More than one or any public display of the Bible will bring harsh punishment, even for tourists. [9][10][11], Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocracy. Non-Muslim propagation is banned, and conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death as apostasy. The legal system is based largely on sharia The Kingdom Centre, a building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Four traditional regions stand out—the Hejaz, Asir, Najd, and Al-Hasa (transliterated more precisely as Al-Ḥijāz, ʿAsīr, Najd, and Al-Aḥsāʾ, respectively). Sometime before 1 December 2018, a Coptic Mass was performed in the city of Riyadh by Ava Morkos, Coptic Bishop of Shobra Al-Kheima in Egypt, during his visit to Saudi Arabia (according to Egyptian and other Arab media). In one case in December 2012, 35 Ethiopian Christians working in Jeddah (six men and 29 women who held a weekly evangelical prayer meeting) were arrested and detained by the kingdom’s religious police for holding a private prayer gathering. Countries of the Gulf Region, Saudi Arabia's Religious Police Crack Down, "Saudi activist sentenced to 10 years, 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam", "Saudi activist receives 7-year sentence, 600 lashes for insulting Islam", "Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents", "Saudi Arabia: New Terrorism Regulations Assault Rights", ‎(in Arabic) نسبة الملحدين في السعودية تتراوح بين 5 و 9 بالمئة, "سعورس : فرانس 24: نسبة الإلحاد مرتفعة في السعودية والسلطات تعتبره إرهابا", هل اقترب عدد الملحدين السعوديين من «المليون»؟. freedom, USCIRF again finds in 2019 that Saudi Arabia merits designation as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). According to the Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence, accepted by both the Saudi Arabians and the declaration's signatories, for a non-Muslim even to set foot on the sacred soil is a major offense. A large number of foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia (8 million expatriates out of a total population of 27 million[26]) are non-Muslims. [citation needed]. assassinated by a Saudi commando in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018, argued that things were actually getting much worse than before. 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 religio… "[40], According to the Middle East editor of The Economist magazine, Nicolas Pelham, the kingdom contains "perhaps the largest and fastest-growing Christian community in the Middle East" and strict religious laws -- such as banning Christians from Mecca and Medina -- are not always enforced:[41], Though Christians are forbidden from worshiping publicly, congregations at weekly prayer meetings on foreign compounds can be several hundred strong. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam, and most of its natives are adherents of the majority Sunni branch. Once fault is determined, a Muslim receives all of the amount of compensation determined, a Jew or Christian half, and all others a sixteenth. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. Other large cities include Al-Ṭāʾif, Al-Hufūf, Tabūk, Buraydah, Al-Mubarraz, Khamīs Mushayṭ, Najrān, Ḥāʾil, Jīzān, and Abhā. Saudi Arabia is trying everything to make sure the latest oil deal sticks. [36], Estimates of the number of Christians in Saudi Arabia include 1,500,000 (Memri.org)[37][38] All[37][38] Christians in the Kingdom are foreign workers. According to the government of the United Kingdom: The public practice of any form of religion other than Islam is illegal; as is an intention to convert others. [17][18], The official form of Islam is Sunni of the Hanbali school, in its Salafi version. With the central aim of transitioning the economy away from its dependency on the oil sector, the government of Saudi Arabia continues to push ahead with its diversification efforts. As a result, Saudi Arabia’s overall rate of natural increase is more than twice the world average, and its population is young, with roughly half under 30 years old and about one-fourth younger than 15. But the numbers show a very different story. Pin the Capital on the Country: Fact or Fiction? [31] Foreign workers are not allowed to celebrate Christmas or Easter. Is Mecca the capital of Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia, officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is located in West Asia with an estimated area of 830,000 square miles, making it the fifth largest country in Asia.Saudi Arabia houses a resident population of 28.7 million people. 10/19/2019 Saudi Arabia (International Christian Concern) – Adherence to strict Saudi Arabian rules include restrictions on open Christian practice. Asir is the highland region south of the Hejaz; its capital, Abhā, lies at an elevation of about 8,000 feet (2,400 metres). [60] A government official announced in that same year that 850 websites and social media pages espousing views deemed to be 'atheistic' in nature have been blocked in the country over a span of 16 months. Is Milan the capital of Italy? [13] Proselytizing by non-Muslims, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bibles, Bhagavad Gita, and Ahmedi Books are illegal. Remain small numbers of Saudi Arabia are prohibited from taking part in many aspects public... Non-Muslims, including the distribution of non-Muslim religious materials such as Bibles, Bhagavad Gita, Booksare. Quantities than this can carry severe penalties country: Fact or Fiction school, in the. Curious Learners podcast, particularly early arrivals, have been naturalized, but most temporary! 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