Yemen

Muslims: 99.1 % (About 65 % are Sunnis, majority followers of the Shafi law school, and 35 % belong to the Shiite Zaidis). 0.9 % are Jews, Bahai, Hindus and Christians.

The constitution declares Islam the state religion and Sharia the source of all laws. It provides for freedom of thought and expression “within the limits of the law”, but omits any mention of religious freedom. The law prohibits the denunciation of Islam, the conversion from Islam to another religion and the conversion of Muslims. (U.S.St.Dept.)

Since 2013 there has been another civil war, which has been supplemented since March 2015 by a military intervention with Saudi Arabian air strikes in Yemen under the name “Storm of Determination”. The Saudi Arabian-led military intervention is logistically supported by the United States of America, France and the United Kingdom.

There is currently (since 8.11.2017) a travel warning for Yemen: “The Foreign Office warns urgently before traveling to Yemen. Both the political and the security situation are extremely volatile throughout the country. The guarantee of security by state authorities is not guaranteed. Already in September 2014, militia of the Shiite-Zaidi Houthi movement had taken control of large parts of the country, including the capital Sana’a, and also brought parts of the security forces under their control. In addition: Homosexual acts are prohibited under Islamic law and can be punished with death.” (German Foreign Office)

Militants suspected of being members of an ISIS-affiliated group killed four Catholic nuns on March 4, 2016, during an attack on their monastery and nursing home in Aden. Armed officers from the National Security Bureau (NSB) stormed a Bahai youth workshop in Sana’a with Houthi rebels and arrested 65 people on 10 August According to media and international human rights organizations, one of the Baha’is remained in custody at the end of the year without access to lawyers or family visits.

Zaydi and Sunni religious leaders continued to pursue charges of apostasy against their opponents. Members of the small Jewish community reported ongoing social harassment and reported that their falling numbers made it difficult to uphold their religious practices.

Apostasy is a crime in Yemen. Articles 12 and 259 of the Criminal Code deal with apostasy, which requires that the Sharia judgment be used for apostasy, and the latter specifies the death penalty for apostates of Islam. The Yemeni law renounces the punishment for an apostate, if he repents and returns to Islam.

In 2012, Yemeni national Ali Qasim Al-Saeedi was arrested by the Yemeni law enforcement agency and charged with apostasy after publishing his personal views on the teachings of Islam on a Yemeni blog site and Facebook page. He was acquitted in 2013.

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