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Saudis threaten to deport non-Muslim Ramadan violators

Saudis threaten to deport non-Muslim Ramadan violators

Author: Associated Press
Publication: The Jerusalem Post
Date: October 25, 2003
URL: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1067093932372&p=1008596981749

The Saudi government has warned Western residents they must not eat, drink and smoke in public during Ramadan.

The Interior Ministry said Wednesday that penalties would be imposed on any non-Muslim who violates the ban in shops, streets or places of work. Punishment could range from the termination of one's work contract to deportation.

"Being a non-Muslim is no excuse ... deterrent measures will be taken against violators," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

There are an estimated two million non-Muslim foreigners living in Saudi Arabia, which has a population of about 19 million.

During Ramadan, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and sex from dawn to dusk. Muslims believe it was during Ramadan about 1,400 years ago that the Quran, their holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

The US Embassy in Saudi Arabia has urged Americans to be "particularly vigilant" for terrorist attacks during Ramadan.

"It is the Embassy's assessment that terrorist groups may place special operational significance on the upcoming month of Ramadan," the US Embassy said in a warden message posted on its Web site.

Britain and Australia warned their citizens this week against travel to Saudi Arabia, with the British Foreign Office saying it had received information that "terrorists may be in the final phases of planning attacks" in the kingdom.
 


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