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Saudi ban on foreigners leading Ramadan prayers lifted
Thursday June 19, 2014 8:33 PM, Agencies

Expatriates would now be allowed to lead prayers in Ramadan at mosques in Saudi Arabia after a yearlong ban, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs announced.

Salman Al-Atawi, spokesman for the ministry in Tabuk, said the ministry has decided to allow expatriates to lead prayers during Ramadan on condition that they are employees of the Charitable Society for the Memorization of the Holy Qur'an, according to Arab News.

Leading prayers and other activities at mosques in the Kingdom would be subject to strict regulations issued by the Ministries of Islamic Affairs, Interior and Social Affairs, he said.

The ministry banned foreigners from leading prayers last year, but allowed some muezzins and imams to delegate their duties to expatriates through subcontracts, in return for part of their monthly salary.

The ministry had assigned supervisors last year to monitor mosques and ensure that imams did not pass on their duties to non-Saudis.

Al-Atawi said muezzins and imams are not allowed to go on holiday during Ramadan. He said the ministry wants imams to lower the volume of their mosques' loudspeakers to prevent disturbing citizens living nearby.

Imams and muezzins must not delegate the call to prayer to non-Saudis, and get permission from the ministry if they want Saudis to do this in emergencies.

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