Following the Jewish faith is not an obstacle for foreigners wishing to obtain an employment visa in Saudi Arabia, according to the website of the Saudi ministry of labor, which added Judaism to the ten religions tolerated in the Muslim kingdom, the Italian news agency ANSAmed reported.
“The ministry is concerned about citizenship, not religious faith, ” a cabinet source was quoted as saying by the al Watan newspaper and by Gulf News.
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As an example, the source mentioned the work undertaken by the King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue based in Vienna.
“The problem is neither Jews nor Christians, ” said Sadaqa Bin Yahya Fadhel, a member of the Saudi Shura, to Gulf news. “The issue was born with the Zionist movement. As a kingdom, Saudi Arabia welcomes all religions, but it cannot accept Israeli citizens because Israel is linked to Zionism, a colonial movement that exploits the Jewish faith.”
According to Fadhel, Judaism “has nothing to share with Zionism.”
OK, some of us can go with that…
According to ANSAmed, this position is shared by other Gulf Cooperation Council members, such as Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrein, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman. In the UAE it is not rare to interact with people with Jewish surnames in different social and business spheres.
Bahrein, which hosts one of the smallest Jewish communities in the world—60 people, give or take—has a Jewish member of parliament.