Saudi to reverse Shia property ban
Published Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Saudi authorities have decided to withdraw a ruling issued by a senior religious scholar in the Kingdom which prevented the sale of real estate to members of the Shia community.
A branch of the Ministry of Islamic affairs in the Eastern Province issued a circular to mosques repealing the fatwa of the late Sheikh Abdullah bin Jibrin which prohibited the sale of real estate to Shias.
Jibrin's decree had said it was wrong to sell property to Shias if the property was in the vicinity of Sunni families or in Sunni villages or towns.
Shia Muslims, who make up around five percent of Saudi's 27 million-strong population, are concentrated in the oil rich Eastern Region, but there are also smaller communities in the holy city of Medina and other areas.
They are routinely prejudiced against, and face marginalization in Saudi society.
Saudi security forces have often suppressed their grievances by force, with anti-government protests by attacked on a regular basis.