Saudi religious police to hunt out extremists

Chairman orders members to focus on Islamic extremists rather than ensuring women are dressed modestly

The chief of Saudi Arabia’s religious police has called on members to focus their attention on Islamic extremists amid rising concern of a terrorist attack.

The voluntary members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) are renown for arresting residents who disobey the kingdom’s strict conservative Islamic laws, such as when unmarried men and women are seen in public together, as well as arresting women who drive.

But with increased violence in the region, including the Sunni rebel attacks in Iraq, Haia chairman Sheikh Abdullatif Al Asheikh told staff members at a meeting in Madinah to refocus their attention on Muslims spreading extremist ideas in the kingdom, Arab News reported.

"Your mission is no longer confined to monitoring shops that remain open during prayer times or instructing women to adhere to modest dress codes," Al Asheikh was quoted as saying.

"The mission has now become much more significant as we attempt to eradicate extremist ideas and confront, including using force, those who promote the principles championed by terrorist groups.”

Al Asheikh said the work of the Haia would play a crucial role in ensuring the security of the country.

Saudi authorities also are working to beef-up security at airports amid the rising violence in the region.

Airport security officers will now carry weapons and passenger security measures have been stepped up, according to local media.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) also is discussing new search and inspection methods for passengers.

Four Saudi security officers and five men accused of being terrorists were killed recently during a raid near the Yemeni border.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
How Saudi women are uniting to inspire new generation

How Saudi women are uniting to inspire new generation

Saudi women from adventurers to inventors are hoping a unique...

Great escape? The UAE expat's dilemma

Great escape? The UAE expat's dilemma

The slowing economy has left ripples of uncertainty across the...

Beating the odds: Palestinian entrepreneurs continue to thrive

Beating the odds: Palestinian entrepreneurs continue to thrive

In the second article of a two-part series, Ambar Amleh, chief...

Most Discussed