RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia are preparing to launch a cellphone application to monitor religious speeches and prayers in mosques and allow worshippers to know whether the Islamic preacher is expected to continue delivering speeches for a long time.
According to the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance in the country, Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh, the application will allow the monitoring of mosques to assess the nature of the speech and duration in “minutes and seconds.”
The ministry is expected to launch the application at the beginning of next year.
It is not entirely clear who will monitor, but it is believed that ordinary imams will be able to evaluate the Islamic preacher.
Saudi Arabia is currently studying the review of religious speeches, aiming to keep people away from the thoughts of “foreign, partisan and Muslim Brotherhood.”
The minister said: “Religion is not an area to manipulate people’s minds, nor should it threaten the security and stability of this blessed country.”
Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Abd Al-Kareem, a spokesperson for the ministry, told Arab News about the ministry’s methods of monitoring religious speeches.
He said: “The process of observing religious speeches is not something new. What is being presented in the pulpit is usually observed in operation centers that might be in the ministry or in a place that is ready to receive what is being broadcast or published from Friday speech pulpits.
“There is no doubt that the people are confident in us since they have a clear knowledge that the ministry is keen on what benefits the community. Therefore, observing Friday speeches is a must to make sure that imams are not taking advantages of the pulpits.”
The ministry will continue following up what is happening in the areas of Sharia and the social aspects. As Al-Kareem said: “It is possible that some words are not desirable in speeches and therefore the ministry must make sure that the choice of words in the speeches is accurate.”
It appears the evaluating of speeches is usually done by specialized committees and religious scholars who are experts in Friday speeches and religion.
A committee that knows what is being said and what is not the right of the Islamic preacher to say will correct him if he has been mistaken.
Al-Kareem said: “The application is still an idea and we are working on it and trying to do several modifications and accepting suggestions. We have reached 100 percent of what we expected, and hopefully the application will be launched soon.
“The minister is keen to accelerate the applications and is very optimistic about social media. We note his concern and emphasis on participating and making sure officials also participate, and to do whatever it takes to make the ministry interact with social media.”
The ministry has already launched an application called Masajid, a geographical explorer that is similar to Google Maps.
The geographical explorer is one of the most important applications implemented within the project of developing the geographic information system for mosques in the ministry. It provides a huge range of information of mosques within the map.
Masjid is the official application of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance in Saudi Arabia. It aims to provide a number of services including exploring the mosques near your current location and following the list of favorite mosques.
You can also communicate with the imam and muezzin easily through the application and send special comments to the mosque.
Moreover, you can follow up requests for maintenance, in addition providing information on all the advocacy activities provided by the ministry, and the data is updated continuously.