On 8th July 2015 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received a written reply to a question on Saudi Arabia.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the steps taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to combat exclusionary and intolerant interpretations of religious texts by religious clerics. [HL863]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Saudi Arabian government, from His Royal Highness King Salman down, continue to challenge exclusionary and intolerant interpretations of religious texts by religious clerics, as does the religious establishment.
During his accession speech King Salman called for tolerance amongst religions, and during his recent speech marking the start of Ramadan he reaffirmed that he was firmly against any kind of sectarian classification or divisions among the different schools of Islam.
The Saudi Arabian authorities have a programme to ensure that text books no longer contain material that could be considered hateful or inciteful. We will continue to support dialogue and opportunities for reform. However, freedom of religion or belief is severely restricted in Saudi Arabia. Public expression of any religion other than Islam is forbidden and non-Muslims are not permitted to worship openly or establish places of worship in Saudi Arabia, although private worship is permitted.