Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dubai authorities have resorted to a religious decree (Fatwa) to remedy the large number of fatal traffic accidents that occur on a monthly basis among nationals and residents.
Dubai’s Grand Mufti Dr. Ahmad al Haddad issued a fatwa prohibiting the running red lights, violating traffic laws and speeding. In the fatwa, he stressed that authorities are entitled to jail or impose fines on violators when it deems it in the public interest.
According to the latest official figures, traffic fatalities in Dubai rose this January by 11.5% (compared with January 2006) at 29 deaths, while last December saw the death toll reach an all-time high of 44 fatalities.
In the fatwa, Dr. al Haddad asserts that those who run red lights, change lanes or go over the speed limit jeopardize themselves and others. “This might cause their death, kill others or inflict damage on their and others’ properties, which is considered harm and prohibited by Islam.
The fatwa came after Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai, summoned officials and demanded that a system to discourage reckless driving be implemented.
Engineer Badr Mattar al Siri, Director of Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), told Asharq Al-Awsat that capitalizing on people’s religious conviction usually yields good results. He pointed out that some youths upon hearing the fatwa have since changed their driving habits.