Riyadh, Asharq al-Awsat- Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz said the educational authorities in his country have banned the collection of donations from students at all levels toward or for the benefit of charitable organizations. He said that it was necessary to restrict this matter. The General Education Administration in the Riyadh area confirmed in a report earlier this month that government and charitable schools, as well as private educational institutions in and around the city of Riyadh, would be prohibited from collecting donations inside schools for any charitable organizations whatsoever.
Dayafallah al-Balawi, the supervisor general for Charitable Associations and Organizations in the Saudi Ministry of Social Affairs, denied that his administration had registered any violations in the collection of funds. Dayfallah al-Balawi told that it is in the interest of charitable work in Saudi Arabia that it is subject to regulated procedures and that this is perfectly valid. Concerning ways of collecting donations, Al-Balawi explained that there are methods and procedures, such as transferred contributions authorized by the ministry or contributions collected by authorized agents on behalf of charitable organizations working in the area of specialty of these organizations but not outside of them. In his remarks on Interior Minister Prince Naif’s telegram concerning the banning of collecting donations inside schools and the consequences of specific violations committed by some persons, he reported that such a directive confirms the necessity of following orderly procedures in collecting funds for charitable works in compliance with stipulations for collecting donations, and he denied in the same context that his administration had registered violations by charitable organizations associated with it in this regard.
The United States had placed a number of Saudi charitable organizations on a list of supporters of terrorism in the wake of the 11 September, 2001 events. Investigations conducted by Saudi security agencies with some suspects against the background of the terrorist events that have raged in the country since May 2003 have confirmed their involvement in collecting funds for terrorist cells and the use of some of the most prominent names of charitable organizations in the country for this purpose.
Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz said in his statements on 11 April that there are people in his country that are religiously and patriotically weak and that may be actively providing funds to terrorist organizations.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs in Saudi Arabia denied having received an American demand for the monitoring of charitable works in the country last Ramadan.
A Saudi official meanwhile declared that his country has strictly regulated charitable work over the past three years by restricting charities to known channels and licensed charitable organizations. He said that accounts of charities are transparent and properly specified with regard to the kind of charity, its proprietors, and its bank, and there is supervision under the Arab Saudi Monetary Organization, he also thought that the regulations set by the government were far less likely to be sidestepped or penetrated, making acts of fraud by organizations that are restricted or banned less likely.