Saudi religious police’s new fieldwork strategy includes iPads, but no return to previous powers

Chairman Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al-Sanad. (SPA)
Updated 14 May 2017
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Saudi religious police’s new fieldwork strategy includes iPads, but no return to previous powers

JEDDAH: The chief of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, or the Saudi religious police, has announced a new workflow for field staff.
The plan, launched Sunday by commission Chairman Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al-Sanad, is aimed at streamlining the work of members operating in the field.
In a statement reported Sunday by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Al-Sanad praised the role played by field members “within the jurisdiction they are allowed,” the statement specified.
He advised members to intensify their field presence during the examination/finals period in schools and universities to assist students during this period.
He thanked Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, his deputy, the Riyadh police director and the director of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control for their cooperation and support in fieldwork.
The SPA report confirms what Arab News reported Sunday that contrary to some inaccurate news on social media, there would be no restoration of commission members’ previous powers.
Their powers were regulated via a Cabinet decree last year, whereby they are not allowed to arrest members of the public. They are instead required to inform the police and narcotics control officers of any wrongdoing.
The director general of the Riyadh General Presidency, Turki Al-Shalil, discussed the use of wireless communication equipment and modern technology in fieldwork.
Under the plan, all reports will be sent from field teams via an electronic app to the relevant authorities.
Some media reports said that the development plan includes the provision of iPads with a SIM card to each member of the team in the field to send reports through them.
The plan defined field members’ tasks, namely intensifying their presence in public places, communicating with the field supervisor, briefing him on all violations and reporting them via an app on their iPads.


Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

Umm Al-Qura was the first newspaper to be published during the time of Saudi Arabia's founder.
Updated 21 May 2018
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Leading monitor of crucial events in the Saudi Arabia for 100 years: Umm Al-Qura newspaper

  • It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz
  • Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924

MAKKAH: It is considered one of the most important and prestigious Saudi Arabian newspapers. 

It has witnessed crucial decisions in the country, observed the history of the region throughout a century, recording details of life in the Kingdom becoming a reference for historical decisions and events.

Umm Al-Qura’s Editor in Chief Abdullah Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has the support and supervision of Minister of Culture and Information Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, who has harnessed all the resources for its modern launch. Al-Ahmadi clarified that the newspaper’s first issue was published in December 1924.

It was the first newspaper to be issued at the time of the Kingdom’s founder, King Abdul Aziz. The headline in the first issue of the newspaper was “The Makkah Declaration,” and this story was accompanied by news and official statements.

Al-Ahmadi said that the paper continued its coverage during World War II, although its presses did stop for a period of up to eight weeks in 1924 before King Abdul Aziz ordered paper to be imported and printing to resume.

Umm Al-Qura’s first editor in chief was Sheikh Yusuf Yassin, who was followed by Rushdi Malhas. Both figures held diplomatic positions during King Abdul Aziz’s reign, along with Mohammed Saeed Abdul Maksoud, Fouad Shaker and Abdul Quddus Al-Ansari.

Al-Ahmadi added that the newspaper has monitored the personal stories of the Kingdom’s kings, giving precise details of the historical and political events of the last century. He added that it has the full Saudi archive and it has become a historical reference for history, the economy and politics.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper was a combination of news, sports and social events during 30 years of its foundation. It had adverts on some pages, reflecting the region’s identity and local, economic and cognitive dimensions.

Al-Ahmadi said that with its launch, the newspaper formed the memory, aspirations and ambitions of Saudi Arabia. It was the only media platform in which the world explored the local news, along with the cultural, educational and economic news. 

It covered their advocacy of the crucial decisions — notably the Palestinian cause that Saudi Arabia has defended since the time of its founder.

Umm Al-Qura’s editor in chief said his main concern, along with his former colleagues in the newspaper’s management, was its development and relaunch, pointing out that a number of challenges have been overcome. 

The newspaper has been developed across the board — from layout and content to its brand logo and colors, he said.

Al-Ahmadi added that new and modern printers have been provided, and the newspaper has improved in line with technical and modern changes. 

He said the government also helped restore the back issues damaged by moths.

The operation was carried out by specialized experts who supervised the whole operation to protect the issues from getting lost. All issues were archived online and missing issues are being updated, he added.

Al-Ahmadi said that the newspaper’s website will provide a digital media platform for the documentation process, giving integrated information about the newspaper.

Al-Ahmadi said the newspaper has a website archive for researchers and academics. 

He added that a large number of master’s and doctorate degrees as well as surveys took place with the help of the newspaper that has become a historic reference for scholars and researchers.