Expatriates in Saudi Arabia Warned to Follow Ramadan Rules or Risk Deportation

Non-Muslim expatriates who live and work in Saudi Arabia have been warned this week that failure to follow the strict eating, smoking and drinking rules expected during the Ramadan period will result in deportation.

According to reports published by many Saudi Arabian newspapers, the Saudi ministry of interior have issued a press release that warns Non-Muslim expatriates against failing to follow the Ramadan requirements and urging them “to respect the sentiments of Muslims by not eating, drinking and smoking in public places, including roads and workplaces” during fasting hours. The statement also added that “Being a non-believer of Islam does not exempt an expatriate from being inconsiderate of the feelings of Muslims and the Islamic symbols of this country,” before warning expatriates that if they failed to honor the Ramadan customs they would have their work permits cancelled and would be deported.

Ramadan marks the ninth month of the Muslim year and during the period, which typically lasts 30 days and it is an extremely important time of the year for Muslims. During the Ramadan month they refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and marital relations during daylight hours and are also encouraged to refrain from other bad habits, such as swearing, lying and getting angry. Through this process followers of the religion have an opportunity to focus on their spirituality. Expatriates who live in Muslim countries should be aware of the requirements of Ramadan and should show respect for their host country’s religion by observing and honoring the rules.

At present a third of the population of Saudi Arabia consists of foreign workers and expatriates.