Saudi king replaces head of morality police

RIYADH Fri Jan 13, 2012 6:42pm IST

Related Topics

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on Friday replaced the head of the country's morality police, which enforces compliance to Sharia law, at a time when some Saudis have complained that it is growing more aggressive.

No reason was given for replacing Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Humain with Sheikh Abdulatif Al al-Sheikh in the royal decree, which was announced on the state news agency.

The morality police force is known formally as the organisation for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice.

Its officers patrol the country's streets making sure shops are closed at prayer times, that people are modestly dressed, and strict gender segregation is observed.

King Abdullah announced a large increase in the morality police's budget in March. Some analysts saw the move as a reward for the religious establishment's support during the Arab Spring uprisings.

Some Saudis have said the organisation has grown more forceful in recent months, pointing to what they say is an increased street presence.

"What is being reported in the news shows us there is some aggressiveness. When they see something wrong they should report it to the police, not take action themselves. Society wants virtue to spread, but there should not be an invasion of people's privacy," said a human rights activist, who asked not to be named.

Members of the Al al-Sheikh family, who are direct descendents of Mohammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of Saudi Arabia's official and strict Wahhabi school of Islam, hold the roles of Grand Mufti, head of the advisory Shura Council and Islamic Affairs Minister.

The family is closely allied to the ruling Al Saud family in a relationship frequently cemented through marriage.

(Reporting By Angus McDowall)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ferguson Teen Shooting

REUTERS SHOWCASE

SAARC Summit

SAARC Summit

Modi gives Buddha a miss as SAARC leaders flock to Nepal.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

U.S. to leave more troops in Afghanistan than first planned - sources.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine reports new arrivals of Russian supplies for eastern rebels.  Full Article 

Nuclear Iran

Nuclear Iran

Extended Iran nuclear talks leave bomb investigation in limbo.  Full Article 

Ebola Crisis

Ebola Crisis

Sierra Leone Ebola burial workers dump bodies in pay protest.  Full Article 

FARC Rebels

FARC Rebels

Colombia's FARC free two soldiers in step to restart peace talks.  Full Article 

Tunisia Politics

Tunisia Politics

Tunisian secularist wins first presidential round, heads for run-off.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage