Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Affairs Ministry has recently laid down new rules to be followed by its citizens during the month of Ramadan, leaving Muslims worldwide miffed with the latest restrictions. According to analyst Sami Hamdi, these changes represent a move towards a new Saudi identity that doesn’t prioritise Islam as a major pillar, reported Live Mint. On Twitter, Hamdi wrote that “MBS (Mohammed bin Salman) is pushing Islam out of public life”.
What is NOT allowed?
– A ban on donations for mosques
– Prohibition of after-sunset iftar meals in mosques
– Prayers are required to be kept brief
– Children are not allowed to pray in mosques
– Worshippers must bring their identification documents
– Apart from the main mosques in Mecca and Medina, volume levels must be kept low, and prayers cannot be broadcast.
– No prolonging the prayers
– If cameras are used in the mosque, they should not be used to take pictures of the imam or worshippers during prayers.
– No financial donations should be collected for projects to feed people who are fasting.
– If food is provided for people who are fasting, it should be done in designated areas and cleaned up afterwards.
– No temporary rooms or tents should be set up for iftar, as per the new rules.
– No iftar inside mosques
– No itikaf without ID
‘Attempt to reduce the influence of Islam’
In an effort to attract foreign audiences and open the Kingdom’s society, critics have claimed that the new limits aim to lessen the impact of Islam. The country is also gradually promoting musical events and inviting well-known Western performers.
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