No return to previous powers of Saudi religious police

Updated 14 May 2017

No return to previous powers of Saudi religious police

JEDDAH: There will be no return to the previous powers of the religious police, which were regulated last year by a Cabinet decree, an expert with in-depth knowledge of Saudi governmental affairs told Arab News.
The source was speaking in response to an inquiry relating to an active hashtag created by some social media users propagating inaccurate news that the religious police’s powers would be restored in full.
“The story is related to a statement attributed to the religious police official spokesperson, Turki Al-Shalil, which said there’s a soon-to-be announced project to improve and enhance the force’s field operation,” the expert said.
“We always knew the religious police field operations required improvement and enhancement. There’s nothing new there as the guidelines that were announced last year were targeted to end the violations and curb the powers of this body so they revert to their original brief of guiding and assisting people, not arresting or interrogating them, which isn’t their responsibility,” he added.
“More importantly, the religious police reform and governing guidelines were announced last year by a Cabinet decree, and anyone who knows anything about how governments work will tell you that a Cabinet decree can only be undone by another Cabinet decree, and there have been no such new decrees announced.”
In April last year, the government barred the religious police from pursuing suspects or making arrests.
“Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, or the religious police, will not be allowed to pursue, question, request identification from, or arrest, suspects,” said a Cabinet statement in April last year.
“Members must instead report suspected crimes to the police or drug authorities, who will carry out law enforcement actions. Members are now also required to show identity cards while carrying out official duties,” the statement said.


DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

Updated 01 October 2020

DiplomaticQuarter: Chinese envoy, Saudi minister discuss ways to strengthen ties

  • Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges

RIYADH: Chinese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chen Weiqing called on Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh at his office in Riyadh, where they exchanged views on strengthening mutual cooperation.

Discussed at the meeting were issues of mutual interest to enhance bilateral cooperation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

After the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I was honored to meet with the minister of Islamic affairs, and we exchanged views on strengthening the dialogue on civilizations and friendship between people of the two countries and issues of common interests.”

Earlier, Weiqing met Abdul Aziz Al-Owaisheq, assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

He was accompanied by his delegation of officials from the Chinese Embassy in Riyadh.

During the meeting, they discussed ways to enhance joint cooperation, in accordance with the agreements signed within the framework of the strategic partnership between the two sides. 

They also discussed the latest developments in regional and international politics, issues of common interest, and their upcoming joint meetings.

Commenting on the meeting, the Chinese ambassador tweeted: “I am pleased to exchange views with the assistant secretary-general for political affairs and negotiations of the GCC about developing relationship between China and the council.”

Saudi Arabia and China are comprehensive strategic partners with strong trade exchanges and are keen on continuing their close bilateral relations and developing them into a long-term strategic partnership protecting mutual interests. 

Saudi Arabia is one of China’s top crude oil suppliers and an important market for its exports.