May 17, 2013 (TSR) – The president of Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has condemned users of Twitter according to Middle East media reports.
The president of Saudi Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has condemned users of Twitter.
Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh severely criticized users of social networks especially Twitter.
“Anyone who uses Twitter has lost his life in this world and also after that; Twitter has emerged as a blackboard for those lacking it,” asserted Al-Sheikh, meaning Twitter was the platform for those who did not have any platform.
His remarks, in line with official reading in Saudi Arabia, indicates that religious and political circles in Saudi Arabia has been disappointed with the rising number of users of social networks in Saudi Arabia.
The sheikh’s comments echo those of the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in April who used his sermon – seen by millions on TV – to warn that Twitter was a threat to national unity, our correspondent says.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the kingdom’s most senior Muslim cleric, had dismissed Twitter users as “fools”.
Saudi social networks recently exposed the case related to a Saudi prince and a girl who was abandoned in a street in al-Samer Township in the western Jeddah by the prince.
The prince denied the allegation, threatening filing complaint against whom implicated him in the case.
The newest examinations in Saudi Arabia show that 12 per cent of population use Twitter, 55 per cent of it being male, and 45 per cent being female.
A Little Background on Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh
Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh is a descendant of Mohammad bin Abdul-Wahhab, the preacher whose pact with Muhammad bin Saud helped to establish the first Saudi state more than 250 years ago.
Before being appointed as a new head of the Commission on January 13, 2012, Al-alsheikh served as director general of investigations at the General Presidency, second assistant secretary-general at the Council of Senior Religious Scholars or Ulema and special adviser at the Riyadh governorate to Riyadh Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. He calls himself an administrator and wants people to judge his job performance through the actions of the Haya and not just his words.
Al-Asheikh has a Doctoraate in Islamic Science (i.e., Shariah Law). He is married and has four children.
Al-Asheikh is known as a moderate and supporter of women’s place in the national economy. He points to history and the Quran for proof that women’s daily interaction with men in the marketplace has long been approved. He is not a ‘liberal’, however, as he still has strong beliefs about the proper ‘place’ of women in society and the extent to which ‘mingling’ of the sexes is permitted.
On heated debate in the country about gender mixing, Al-alsheikh took what many considered a moderate stance when compared to the official stance taken by the Commission. “Gender mixing is here by need and necessity,” he told al-Jazirah daily. “Such practice was not born today or in this age, but rather has existed for a very long time, including the early days of Islam.” Al-alsheikh went on to say that Sharia did not ban gender mixing, but rather allowed it within certain limits.
Like his predecessor, Al-alsheikh came to the job with promises of change and reform. On his first few weeks he made the headlines when he announced that the Commission patrols will no longer chase suspects in the streets. The decision was well-received because several people have been killed or injured in high speed chasing incidents in recent years, but also made some conservatives uneasy as it indicated that the new president seemed more than willing to limit the powers enjoyed by his feared men.
Al-alsheikh has had some quiet months on the job since then, but Nail Polish Girl affair came and forced him to speak up. In an unusual non-defensive response, Al-alsheikh attempted to play down the story and instead directed criticism at his own men saying Commission members who abuse their power would be fired immediately.
Most of the employees in this Saudi government body are not very educated according to some reports. The Commission employs 4389 men: 60% of the these employees do not have a college degree, and half of those did not even finish high school. Most of them are field officers, the ones you usually see in malls and patrolling streets in white GMC trucks. The Commission field offers have arrested 392,325+ persons for two types of offense: religious and moral which translates to 1.5% of the country’s population, a 20% increase over the previous year
Both Arab News and Saudi Gazette scored interviews with him following his appointment last Friday. In both interviews, he stresses that his officials cannot be committing wrongs while trying to encourage the good, their role under the concept of hisba, that is, encouraging virtue while combating vice. He says his officials will be trained, but also held accountable for their own misdeeds. He emphasizes to his officers that dignity, of both the officers and the recipients of their attention must have their dignity preserved.