Zainy Abbas | Arab News
Publication Date: 
Mon, 2009-02-16 03:00

MAKKAH: Legal professionals and religious personalities yesterday welcomed new appointments and changes made by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to important establishments, such as in the Supreme Judicial Council, the Council of Senior Scholars and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

“The new officials are known for their moderation and balanced views on legal and religious issues and will undoubtedly be able to modernize the establishments in which they will be working,” said Sami Sabbah, a faculty member at the College of Shariah of the Umm Al-Qura University.

“The government’s move is in line with the current international developments particularly in areas relating to law and religion,” Sabbah added.

Sami Al-Khayyat, director of Cases and Investigations Department at the Makkah branch of the virtue commission, welcomed the appointment of Abdul Aziz Al-Humain as the organization’s new chief.

Al-Khayyat, however, warned Al-Humain about the tough task that lay ahead for him. “If he wants to improve the organization as a whole, the new commission chief will have to create a new image for the organization, which has been grossly misunderstood in recent times. He will face a lot of challenges.”

Al-Khayyat added that the new president would have to take bold steps to rewrite the commission’s 50-year-old charter. “A high level committee in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior would have to be set up to reformulate new regulations. Replacement of outdated regulations with new ones would require royal approval,” he said.

He said the commission is currently viewed as old-fashioned and is averse to adopting modern techniques in its administration and field operations.

“The commission’s poor public relations have given it a poor image both inside and outside the Kingdom. Its present sorry state is the result of the short-sighted policies and refusal to change by some of its top officials,” Al-Khayyat added.

He stressed that the commission should review the definition of violations, particularly its view on illegal gender mixing. He also hoped that its new chief would follow a more liberal policy, promote creative ideas and enable its members to interact positively with the media.

He also wanted a total change in content and appearance to the commission’s periodical publication, entitled Hisbah, to suit the times.

Al-Khayyat believes that the commission has a number of efficient and experienced workers who can repair its image if given the opportunity.

Khaled Bajahzar, imam and khatib at the Sindi Mosque in Makkah, hoped that the newly appointed ministers, judges and other officials would help achieve the modernization of the key legal and religious establishments in the country.

Nassir bin Zayd Al-Dawood, a judge at Riyadh’s General Court, said the restructuring of various organizations with young and efficient people would certainly bring about excellent results.

“For instance, Saleh Bin-Humaid, the newly appointed chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, has vast experience as the head of the Shoura Council. He had the opportunity to interact with lawmakers and parliamentarians the world over and he is comparatively young. These factors will, apparently, enable him to play a vital role in strengthening the legal establishments in the Kingdom,” Al-Dawood said.

Incidentally, Bin-Humaid is the son of the first chairman of the Kingdom’s judicial council, Abdullah bin Muhammad Bin-Humaid, Al-Dawood said.

Commenting on the choice of Mohammed Al-Eissa as the new justice minister, he said: “Al-Eissa’s experience as the vice president of the Court of Grievances must have given him deep insight into legal issues in the Kingdom, which would greatly help him in discharging his duties as the minister of justice.”

He added that Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Kelya, the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, is one of the most experienced personalities in the field of Saudi law as he is a former chief judge at the Court of Cassation in Makkah and has been serving as a judge at various courts for more than four decades.

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