How Shia Muslims are treated in Saudi Arabia?

Western Propaganda about Shia Muslims in Saudi Arabia: Personally speaking, I have been living in the Kingdom for a long time. I have some friends who are Shia Muslims. I have attended their religious gatherings during Muharram as nobody stops them from performing these rituals.

The reason I am bringing this point here that there has been western propaganda the Shia Muslims are not allowed to get together in one place. Well, they get together, have meals in a congregation, address their audience according to their school of thought and leave peacefully.

They are not allowed to conduct mourning sessions: However, they are not allowed to conduct mourning sessions in the memory of Hazrat Imam Hussain R.A. According to 4 schools of thoughts mentioned above, it is not allowed to beat yourself physically for mourning. Actually, there are some basic differences between Shia and Sunni Muslims.

If you go to Masjid al-Haram, you will find many Shia Muslims praying side by side to Sunni Muslims. The best example of Muslim Brotherhood is seen there where Muslims from all around the world are treated equally. 

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They are not allowed to Parade: In the same way, Shia Muslims are also not allowed to parade from one place to another on roads as they normally do in all other countries. Well, in Saudi Arabia nobody is allowed to initiate this kind of activity even if he is a Sunni.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in his recent interview with The Atlantic’s Editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg talked about the religious sects in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Many people don’t know that some regions of Saudi Arabia are densely populated with Shia people.

Shia Muslims are an integral part of Saudi Arabia: In his statement, while answering a question asked by the editor in chief, He said Sunni and Shiite both Muslims live in the Kingdom and the Shiite Muslim citizens in Saudi Arabia are an integral part of the Kingdom’s society.

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Jeffery Golberg asked the Crown Prince bin Salman about Wahabism in the Kingdom to which, He replied, we believe we have Sunni and Shiite in Saudi Arabia and we believe we have within Islam four schools of thoughts and we have the ulema and the board of Fatwas in the Kingdom.

Wahabism in Islam: He further said while talking about Wahabism, nobody can define as if it didn’t exist in the Kingdom. Most of the hatred is due to some misconceptions about Shia Muslims which need to be addressed.

During his interview he said, in Saudi Arabia, it is open and clear that our laws come from Islam and the Quran, but we have the four schools the Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi’i, Maliki and they argue about interpretation.

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Shia Muslims are in Saudi Cabinet: There are Shiite in the Kingdom and you will find a Shiite in the cabinet, you will find Shiites in government. The most important and leading university in Saudi Arabia is headed by a Shiite Muslim.

It is our belief that we are a mix of Muslim schools and sects, he added to his statement.  Later during the Interview Goldberg questioned the Crown Prince about their issue with Iran asking him whether Saudi Arabia’s problem with Iran was religious.

Saudi Arabia has no problem with Shia Muslims: Bin Salman then replied, “As I told you, the Shiites are living normally in Saudi Arabia. We have no problem with the Shiites Muslims the main problem we have is with the ideology of the Iranian regime.

Our main problem is we don’t think they have the right to interfere with our personal affairs.” 

Source: Al Arabiya

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Steve has vast experience in writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures.