RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, July 9 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabian government officials have warned that citizens and foreigners who do not show respect for Muslims during Ramadan will face stiff penalties.
Government officials said all people are expected to abstain from food, drink or smoking in public during the month-long sunrise to sunset fast, which starts Wednesday, Gulf News reported.
"Those who are caught will be examined and will face legal action commensurate with their violation," interior ministry officials said. "Punishment could be a prison term or lashes or both while foreigners could, in addition, be deported from the kingdom," the warning said.
The ministry has asked the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice to monitor the streets for compliance.
"This decision applies to all people, regardless of whether they are Muslims or not, and are in line with the regulations of Saudi Arabia that strictly ban public violations of Ramadan ethics and encourage genuine considerations for the feelings of Muslims during this auspicious month," the officials said.