Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is being reined in by its new chief, Saudi Gazette reports with a republishing of a release from the Saudi Press Agency.
RIYADH – Hai’a members must not chase or engage in hot pursuit of civilians, whether accused or guilty of crime, due to the bad consequences such activity has on life and property, the Hai’a chief said Saturday.
Sheikh Dr. Abdullateef Aal Al-Sheikh, chief of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the Hai’a), instructed all Hai’a branches in the Kingdom that members of the Commission must note down the information of the wanted persons and give it to the security forces to follow up with the case.
This would ensure there is no overlapping of powers or jurisdictions with other government authorities, Aal Al-Sheikh said.
Necessary measures will be taken against anyone who violate these directives, he added.
Meanwhile, Prince Sattam Bin Abdul Aziz, Emir of Riyadh, has ordered concerned authorities to punish anyone found guilty of harassing others in shopping centers, according to a report in Al-Watan newspaper. The punishment will be 5 days in prison for a first-time offender and 35 days for a repeat offender. – SG/SPA
Saudi Gazette/Okaz also report that the Commission (alternatively, Hai’a or Haya) is taking a dim view of mall owners hiring their own look-alike religious police. These rent-a-religious-cops have no authority, but take on the cloak (and short thobes) of the official anti-vice body. They lack the training that the proper officials are being given and may not understand what moral policing is actually about. Instead, they seek to impose their personal views of proper behavior.
‘Mutawwa for hire’ upsets Hai’a chief
Faleh Al-Dhubyani | Okaz/Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH – Sheikh Dr. Abdul Lateef Aal Al-Sheikh, the chief of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Hai’a), has slammed mall owners for hiring personnel to act as Hai’a staff members.
Aal Al-Sheikh was responding to news that some mall owners were now using these unauthorized staff to prevent harassment of female shoppers by single males. Recently the Hai’a chief said that single males should be allowed to enter malls.
Aal Al-Sheikh said that these mall employees do not represent the Hai’a and have no legal standing in the country.
He also urged the security authorities to confront these “mutawwa” because they are impersonating Hai’a staffers. They are also tarnishing the image of the Hai’a, he added.