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Saudi Arabia to Deport Foreigners Who Violate Ramadan Codes in Public - 2004-10-10

Saudi Arabia says foreigners face deportation if they eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The country's interior ministry said foreigners who publicly break the Ramadan fast would be dismissed from their work and deported from the country. The ministry said non-Muslim residents must respect the feelings of Muslims by not publicly breaking the fast.

The four-week-long Ramadan period is expected to begin later this week.

This year the U.S. State Department sharply criticized Saudi Arabia for violations of religious freedom. It said freedom of religion does not exist in the country and non-Muslims face serious discrimination.