Riyadh: Saudi authorities threatened on Thursday to expel non-Muslim foreigners who eat, drink or smoke in public during Ramadan, which begins this weekend.

The interior ministry urged non-Muslims to “respect the feelings of Muslims by refraining from eating, drinking or smoking in public places, streets and at work.”

“They are not excused for being non-Muslim,” said the statement carried by SPA state news agency, adding that “labour contracts stipulate respect for Muslim rites”.

“Those who violate [that]... will face the necessary measures, including terminating work contracts and being deported,” the statement added.

Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict version of Sharia, hosts more than nine million foreigners, mostly Asians.