Riyadh: Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia will retain its longstanding ban on non-Muslim places of worship, Justice Minister Mohammad Al Eisa said in comments reported by the Saudi media on Wednesday.
As Saudi Arabia is “home to the Muslim holy places, it does not allow the establishment of non-Muslim places of worship,” the Al Hayat newspaper quoted Al Eisa as telling European MPs in Brussels.
Saudi Arabia, home to the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Makkah towards which Muslims worldwide pray - has come in for repeated criticism for its ban on non-Muslim places of worship.
Although Saudi Arabia’s citizen population is Muslim, the kingdom is also home to millions of expatriates of various beliefs.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s Gulf Arab neighbours allow the building of churches and the celebration of non-Muslim feasts.