Non-muslims (on Islamic ground)

According to the Koran, the followers of a different monotheist religion residing permanently in a Muslim country are tolerated and protected. Only the « People From the Book » (Christians, Sabians, Samaritans, Jews and Zoroastrians) benefited of this status. The « unfaithful » (Atheists, Animists and Polytheists) do not have any privileged status. In ancient times, the People from the Book benefited of this status provided that they paid a special tax and accepted an agreed juridical inferior situation. This tax practice, which was more or less rigorously applied according to the places and time, has been left behind by all contemporary Muslim States.

Nowadays, the status of the non-Muslims varies according to the political regimes and the legislation in the related countries. In most of the Arab States where many Christian or Jewish minorities live (Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestina, Syria and Yemen), the Constitution guarantees equality among the citizens whichever religion they might have. On the other hand, private Law is generally still governed by the laws and customs proper to one religious community (like in Israel). In Sudan, however, the Charia is applied to all the citizens, without taking into account their religious belonging. Saudi Arabia, guardian of the holy places of the Islam, is a particular case as it only gives access to their country to people who prove their belonging to one of the three great monotheist religions, prohibiting the access to the holy cities, Medina and Mecca, to all non-Muslims.