Buddhist faces beheading for prayer in Saudi Arabia

A Sri Lankan domestic worker in Saudi Arabia has been arrested by the Umulmahami Police for worshipping before a picture of the Buddha.

Sri Lanka’s Buddhist Ministry, Bodu Bala Sena, reports that the man, bearing passport no. 2353715 has been identified as Premanath Pereralage, 38, a father of two. Despite praying to the Buddha in a private home, the Sri Lankan national was arrested and charged with practicing “black magic,” reports Ceylon Today, because he burned incense during his prayers, as is customary in Buddhism.

Ceylon Today also says that Bodu Bala Sena has complained that those “employed in Muslim countries are prevented from practicing their religious faiths, and if found doing so are punished severely.”

However, the Ministry also blames the Sri Lankan authorities for not informing those traveling to Saudi Arabia — whose official religion is strict Wahabi Islam — that the practice of other religions, and even other denominations of Islam, such as Shia, can result in arrest and imprisonment or other harsh penalties.

Bodu Bala Sena believes the Saudi authorities intend to behead the Sri Lankan domestic worker, and has complained to the Foreign Employment Bureau, Battaramulla, about the matter.

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