Dubai: Foreigners who practice the Jewish faith are allowed to work in Saudi Arabia, a labour ministry source said.
“The ministry does not mind issuing employment visas to Jews as it deals with nationalities, and not with religions,” the source said, quoted by local daily Al Watan on Tuesday.
“Saudi Arabia does not oppose dealing with any religion and this is clearly demonstrated in the King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.”
The centre, located in the Austrian capital Vienna, was founded to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world. It introduces itself on its site as “an independent and autonomous international organisation, free of political or economic influence.”
“For example, if a worker has the Yemeni nationality and the Jewish faith, he is allowed to work in the kingdom because the ministry does not look at religions, but at nationalities,” the source said.
The ministry’s website lists Judaism among the 10 religions whose practitioners can fill in working applications.
Shura Council Member Sadaqa Bin Yahya Fadhel said that the labour ministry’s decision to allow Jewish workers was “correct.”
“We Muslims do not have a problem with Jews or Christians,” he said. Our major issue is with the Zionist Movement which exploits the Jewish faith to promote and serve its own agenda.”
He added the distinction between Jews and Zionists should always be made clear.
“We can deal with anyone from any religion, and the ministry is right as long as it does not deal with Israelis. As a kingdom, we do welcome all religions, but we cannot accept Israelis because they are linked to Zionism, a colonialist movement that uses and takes advantage of the Jewish faith. Judaism has nothing to do with this movement,” he told the Saudi daily.