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:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

SpaceShipTwo Crash

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Siege Of Kobani

Siege Of Kobani

Air strikes hit Kobani as Kurdish peshmerga prepare to enter  Full Article 

Unrest in Burkina Faso

Unrest in Burkina Faso

Army chief takes power after Burkina president bows to protests  Full Article 

Sri Lankan Landslide

Sri Lankan Landslide

Rains slow Sri Lankan landslide search; nearly 150 feared dead  Full Article 

Controversial Remark

Controversial Remark

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves.  Full Article 

Human Rights

Human Rights

Iran hits back after West condemns its human rights record  Full Article 

Failed Launch

Failed Launch

U.S. rocket explosion investigation suspects main engine failure  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

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