Saudi man barred from travel after visiting synagogue in Egypt

Saudi embassies say visiting non-Muslim religious sites is not prohibited, however, young Saudis report that some of them have been penalized by security authorities after such visits.

Cairo synagogue (file) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Cairo synagogue (file)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Saudi man is still barred from traveling a year after he visited an Egyptian synagogue.
“We visited a synagogue called ‘Hashamayim’,” during a tourist visit, the man told the London-based Arab daily Al-Hayat in a report published online on Saturday, referring to the Cairo based Sha’ar Hashamayim (Gate of Heaven) Synagogue, which is also known as the Adly Street Synagogue.
“We asked those responsible for the temple if there was a possibility of taking copies of the Torah in Arabic,” said the unidentified Saudi, adding that they asked questions about Judaism.
The man recounted that after returning to Saudi Arabia for some time, he decided to travel to one of the other Gulf states, but was informed at the port of exit that he was banned from traveling. He was told that the reason for the ban was because he had entered a synagogue.
The authorities then asked him, “Are you a Jew? Would you like to visit Israel?”
And despite the fact that the investigation has been completed, the man claims that the travel ban is still in effect.
In a separate article in Al-Hayat, the Saudi embassy in Egypt explained that visiting non-Muslim religious sites is not prohibited; however, young Saudis reported that such visits led to being penalized by security authorities, including “temporary” travel bans.