06:05 GMT +320 September 2019
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    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

    Tillerson: US Urges Saudi Arabia to Embrace Greater Degree of Religious Freedom

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    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a speech on Tuesday that the United States calls on the government of Saudi Arabia to enable greater religious freedoms of all citizens.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Olesya Manokhina — In his address on Tuesday, Tillerson stated that Washington remains concerned about the state of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia.

    "We urge Saudi Arabia to embrace greater degree of religious freedom for all of its citizens," Tillerson said.

    Earlier in the day, the US State Department released its annual International Religious Freedom report, which gives a detailed overview of the status of religious rights in 200 nations and includes reports of religious freedom violations by governments as well as terror groups and individuals.

    According to the report, Saudi authorities jailed persons for violating Islamic values and moral standards, insulting Islam, black magic and sorcery. Moreover, the government arrested Shia clerics and activists who fought for equal rights of Shia Muslims, the report noted.

    A number of foreign residents who exercised their religion during private meetings at homes have been detained or deported from Saudi Arabia, the report said.

    In addition, the media that provided religious content have been suppressed by the government and monitored by religious police to enforce public morals, the report added.

    Under Saudi Arabia's laws, Sunni Islam is the country's state religion and all the citizens should be Muslims. Adherents of religious groups other than Islam are banned from visiting the country.


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