By Courtney Trenwith
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) already has 65,500 followers in two days
Saudi Arabia’s notorious religious police have joined Twitter, reportedly to improve its social image.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) launched on Friday using the handle @PvGovSa.
It already has 65,500 followers.
The organisation’s first tweet, translated from Arabic using Google translate, read: “In the name of God and God's blessing kicks off the official account of the General Presidency for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice on Twitter asking God to benefit by everyone”.
It has been retweeted 20,000 times.
The Haia is known for its extremely strict interpretation and implementation of the Islamic Quran. It has often been criticised for the unwarranted arrest of people for apparently not dressing correctly, associating with non-related members of the opposite sex or breaching other Islamic rules.
It is particularly known for detaining women who drive, despite there being no official law against it.
The Haia’s reputation led Twitter user Ahmed Al Omran to post on April 24: “You better behave, because the Saudi religious police is now on Twitter: @pvgovsa….”