Riyadh Asharq Al-Awsat- As the first official response to violence and arson attacks on a number of mosques in Riyadh, the minister of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Dawaa and Guidance, Salah Al Sheikh, revealed the identity of the perpetrators who committed the crimes last December. The Minister’s announcement came with the launching of a new system that monitors Saudi mosques electronically through a network based on the Geographical Information System (GIS).
The minister also revealed that those behind the arson of mosques were are mentally disturbed. He pointed out that the matter was personally followed up by the Governor of Riyadh as well as by the security institutions. Last December, attacks were carried out on a number of mosques in Riyadh in which they were vandalized and some burnt.
The minister refuted the statements that imams and preachers in Saudi Arabia were not doing enough to combat terrorist ideas as he said, “there were no shortcomings on behalf of imams and preachers as they have carried out their responsibilities but the matter deserves more time.” As the GIS system was launched, the Minister said the project aimed at creating a program to monitor all mosques and to set up monitoring systems inside. The minister clarified that this would enable the Ministry to be acquainted with the mosques everyday through modern technology.
The project has already been implemented in the mosques of Al Malaz quarter, east of Riyadh. By mid 2007, monitors would have been set up in other mosques of Riyadh. By mid 2008, the ministry hopes to have included all of the kingdom’s mosques in the project.