JEDDAH: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is undergoing major changes with a sharp focus on cultural and religious affairs.
Following a recent Cabinet reshuffle, Sheikh Abdullatif bin Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Asheikh has been appointed the minister of Islamic affairs.
Prior to this role, Al-Asheikh served as the president of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, also known as the religious police or Haia, from 2012 to 2015.
His former positions include director general of investigations at the General Presidency, second assistant secretary general at the Council of Senior Religious Scholars and special adviser at the Riyadh governorate.
Al-Asheikh attained a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.
Al-Asheikh earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of Shariah in Riyadh in 1974 and did his master’s in comparative jurisprudence in 1984.
His responsibilities as the new minister of Islamic affairs include the management and organization of all religious facilities in the Kingdom, including mosques.
His role also includes supervision of centers for Dawah and guidance, the general supervision of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, organizing local and international competitions for memorizing and reciting the Holy Qur’an, the supervision of Islamic centers, assisting minorities and Muslim communities abroad and coordinate with Islamic organizations, and supporting Islamic universities and institutes abroad.
According to the Saudi electronic newspaper Sabq, Al-Asheikh put an end to extreme acts from some Haia members such as chasing individuals in the streets, etc.