- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Anti-terrorism regulations brought forth by the interior ministry in Saudi Arabia over the past few weeks would result in atheism being tantamount to terrorism, according to an international human rights advocacy organization.

One of the new laws listed as a terrorism provision: “Calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based,” Human Rights Watch reported on its website.

“Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism, including atheism,” said Joe Stork, the organization’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “The laws are so sweeping, they can be used to criminalize virtually any expression critical of the government and its understanding of Islam.”

The organization said the new rules aim to quell any type of dissent in the kingdom and keep Saudis from joining al Qaeda rebels in Syria.