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Saudi Arabia: Religious Police Head Ready to Set Up Similar Bodies in Other Countries - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Sheikh Ibrahim Bin Abdullah Al-Ghaith, General President for the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), has expressed his personal willingness to fulfill the request of any country that wishes to incorporate a similar committee in its own government services.

In regards to the rumors at the beginning of June 2008 that some clerics in Yemen intended to establish a commission similar to the CPVPV within their country’s government services, Al-Gaith told Asharq Al-Awsat that his commission has not received any requests to study the Saudi religious police experience. However, Al-Gaith said that he is willing to aid in establishing and facilitating such a commission in Yemen.

Yemeni Islamic scholars, in particular, Sheikh Abdul-Majid Al-Zindani, have said that they plan to establish a commission for the promotion of virtue and prevention of vice. The scholars’ suggestion has provoked diverse reactions, some in favor and some against these plans. The controversy has affected the country, from political quarters to the Yemeni street. Those who oppose this suggestion have considered it in violation of the Yemeni law and Constitution.

Meanwhile, Al-Gaith did not consider pensioning commission members who have reached 60 years of age. A recent study of the commission indicated that many commission members are elderly with low levels of education, which renders their fieldwork in dealing with residents difficult.

Al-Gaith has called for offering commission employees a salary increase of about 20 percent as a “danger allowance.” The commission study stressed that a considerable number of commission members are incapable of defending themselves in the face of danger during field duties.

Yesterday, Al-Gaith attended a ceremony in Riyadh to honor retired commission members. He expressed his hope that the Ministry of Finance continues to consider the advancement of his commission and its employees. Al-Gaith also announced the Ministry of Finance’s approval to construct a building for the commission and equip it with the modern equipment. The construction contract for this building costs over 80 million Saudi riyals.

Al-Gaith said the increase in the Saudi population and the expansion of construction all over the country necessitate that his commission fully requires its thousands of employees. He confirmed that the amirs and governors of certain provinces have requested the establishment of commission branches in their regions. This reflects the strong relationship that exists between the CPVPV and Saudi society, he added. He indicated that the commission has not opened any new branches in the past 18 years.

Al-Gaith also specified that about 85 percent of commission employees have received training courses. He noted that those who wish to join the commission must have completed their university degrees with a minimum cumulative average of “Good [C].”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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