Hindus, like other non-Muslim religions, are not authorized to publicly worship in Saudi Arabia. There have also been reports of Saudi Arabian officials destroying Hindu sacred artefacts. In addition, there are no Hindu temples in the country. However, many Indians work in the oil industry and some have been granted special permits by the government to build homes for themselves outside the Islamic country.
In conclusion, Hindus are not allowed to openly practice their religion in Saudi Arabia. Some Indian workers have built homes for themselves outside the country with the help of their embassies. Also, some government officials have been known to destroy Hindu religious artefacts seized from smugglers.
It is illegal for Hindus to import idols into Saudi Arabia. When visiting Saudi Arabia, you will only discover mosques as places of worship. In Saudi Arabia, there are no churches, temples, or mandirs for adherents of any religion, including Hinduism, Buddhism, or Sikhism. However, Muslims serve meals daily at their homes to those who seek them. These meals are called iftars and are often attended by members of the media and government officials.
Why aren't there any religious institutions for Hindus in Saudi Arabia? As we have seen, Islam is the official religion in Saudi Arabia. The government considers itself responsible for ensuring that all citizens are granted equal rights regardless of their beliefs. Thus, they do not allow any state-sponsored institutions to be used for religious purposes. Any building that is used for religious activities is considered private property and can be sold or rented out as such.
Where did all the Hindu priests go? With the ban on importing idols, there are no more priests available in Saudi Arabia to perform ceremonies for Hindus. Even if one was to arrive from India today, there would be no way for him to get a license to practice Hindu rituals.
What about Hindu prayers? You can find many mosques in Saudi Arabia and it is expected that Muslims should pray five times a day. So, Hindus can easily join their fellow countrymen in prayer by going to a mosque.
As of 2001, there were an estimated 1,500,000 Indian people in Saudi Arabia, the most of whom were Muslims but some of whom were Hindus. However, they can be granted permission by a Muslim authority to meet in secret for religious rituals.
In addition, there are also many Christians in Saudi Arabia. In fact, there are more Christians than Jews in the country. Out of the two million Indians in the kingdom, about 70% are Muslim while 30% are Christian.
Saudi Arabia forbids non-Muslim religious practices in public. Non-Muslim worshipers face arrest, incarceration, flogging, deportation, and, in extreme cases, torture for engaging in overt religious behavior that draws state notice.
However, as a policy decision designed to protect Islam's most sacred site, the prohibition on non-Muslim worship at Mecca and Medina is not applied even-handedly across the kingdom. In fact, Saudi Arabia provides special visas allowing Muslim pilgrims from all over the world to visit these sites during certain times of the year. These visas are available on a quota basis by means of a complex system that takes into account an applicant's Islamic faith. The visa allows the holder to stay in the country for up to three months, which is just enough time to make the hajj. There are several categories of visa depending on the purpose of the trip. For example, there are visas for students, workers, and tourists.
Non-Muslim foreigners can apply for a special permit called "mahram" (meaning "close relative"). This permit is only issued to the family members or relatives of Saudi citizens who are able to provide proof of marriage. Otherwise, they would not be allowed to travel with them.
Non-Muslims are not permitted to erect temples, churches, or other religious structures in Saudi Arabia, nor are they permitted to pray in public locations. Members of one religious group either persecute or discriminate against members of other religious communities in all of the situations above. The only exception is for the Muslim community who may establish mosques anywhere in the country.
What if you do not have a religion? Some countries may give you special rights because you need to have something to worship even if you have no faith. For example, Sweden gives its citizens a national identity card which identifies them as either atheist, Christian, or some other belief system.
But most countries don't give anyone other than Muslims special treatment based on their lack of religion. They will still be persecuted for their beliefs if they refuse to convert or go underground.