Saudi Arabia reverses ban on selling properties to Shiites

Authorities warn violators and calls on people to report them

By: Jumana Al Tamimi Associate Editor
17:01 August 8, 2012

Dubai: Saudi religious authorities have announced the withdrawing of a religious fatwa issued by a senior scholar preventing the selling of real estate to Shiites, the Saudi press reported yesterday.

A circular issued by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs branch in the Eastern province asked the imams of mosques in the region to “ban putting on the advertisement board the fatwa of the late Shaikh Abdullah Bin Jibrin, from the committee of senior religious scholars, which prohibited the sale of real estate to Shiites”.

The circular warns those who put up the fatwa and asks others to report them.

Bin Jibrin’s fatwa, or religious ruling, had said it was wrong to sell property to Shiitess if the property was in the vicinity of Sunni families or in Sunni villages or towns.

Shiites comprise nearly five per cent of the Saudi’s 27 million-population. They are mainly concentrated in the oil-rich Eastern Region. However, other smaller communities live in other areas, including Al Madina, press reports said.

But the Eastern Region was the scene of unrest and clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters. Nine people have been killed in the clashes between the two sides since March 2011, according to press figures.