Saudi religious cops told to brush up on English

Kingdom’s religious police made to take courses to better communicate with foreigners

Members of Saudi Arabia’s religious police have been told to brush up on their English language skills in order to better communicate with foreigners in the kingdom, it was reported.

Officials at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which is responsible for enforcing Islamic code among the country’s population, will take part in a number of obligatory courses to better their communication skills, Arab News said.

“This will ensure improving their performance levels, activating the mission and role of the commission and limiting erroneous interpretations, in compliance with the Cabinet’s decision to organize the General Presidency of the commission,” Abdul Latif Al-Shiekh, president of the commission, told the newspaper.

“A great responsibility falls on the shoulder of those charged with this mission so their performance must be of the highest level in compliance with the approach of the Prophet. Like him, we should treat people in a good, fair and wise manner,” Al-Shiekh added.

Saudi’s religious police prevent women from driving, require them to be covered from head to foot in black, enforce bans on public entertainment and force all businesses to close for prayers five times a day.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah in January 2012 dismissed the head of the country’s religious police, replacing him with Al-Shiekh, who is considered more moderate.

Two weeks after his appointment Al-Shiekh banned volunteers from serving in the commission and in April prohibited the religious police from “harassing people” and threatening “decisive measures against violators”.

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