Abolition of Haia

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Al-Watan

A DECISION was issued on April 11, 2016 by higher authorities disbanding the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia), thus ending an era of persecution, raids, spying and suspecting people's morality. Since the organization’s dissolution to this date we have not heard about any morality-related crimes, which the Haia used to inflate.

The commission used to report hundreds of thousands of morality crimes annually but since its nullification one and a half year ago we have not heard any such crimes. On the contrary, peace and tranquility have prevailed on the streets and people have achieved greater confidence. We have not seen any immoral activity either on the streets or in markets, schools and resorts.

Unlike in the past, celebrations and cultural programs have been organized all over the Kingdom with the participation of men, women and children, the last of which being the National Day festivities. All these events took place in the absence of the commission, and there was no violation of morality. The Saudi society is a conservative Muslim society, and is keen on upholding moral values without the need for somebody to use whip or for moral police.

In every society there will be deviants. It’s quite natural. It’s the duty of security officers to discipline and control such people. Above all, the members of society – men and women -- reject any bizarre and shameless behavior. It has become now clear that homosexuals and other abnormal people are rare in our society compared to other countries. I can say with confidence that their number has not reached dangerous levels as reported by the commission in its annual reports.

In reality, the commission members have no role in our society as mosques are now overflowed with worshipers. Even the closure of shops during prayer timings is done automatically. People stand on sidewalks of the mosque to pray in obedience to their Lord, without the need for shouting or threatening on microphone by Haia members. Worship is a personal relationship between the slave and his Lord, and no human being has the right to interfere between God and His creation.

Now the commission has no role to play and has no responsibility, neither in the field nor in the offices. The duty of commanding good and forbidding evil is done by security officers and various government departments efficiently. I believe that there is no need to keep the Haia anymore and it should be disbanded like some of the old ministries and commissions.

Within the corridors of the Shoura Council, deliberations are still being made on Haia’s inclusion in the Ministry of Islamic Affairs. I have not seen any justification for this proposal. On the other hand, I believe that the Shoura should discuss prospects of abolishing the commission. Why do we waste our time, money and energy by discussing the need to merge the Haia, which is a useless organization, with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs? I believe that the keeping of Haia would remain an administrative and financial burden on the state, which wants to rationalize spending.

In the past I and other writers have proposed the idea of ​​converting Haia into moral police under the supervision of public security after we noticed that public security is the closest sector in which the Haia can be merged with. But Haia members are not eligible to perform this role, and require long training that incurs huge financial expenditures.

I don’t think the public security needs such a merge to deal with morality-related crimes. Therefore, abolition of the organization is the first and foremost choice for the state. A committee can be formed to study prospects making use of Haia employees for other government departments and agencies, in accordance with their qualifications and need of departments. The commission’s facilities and vehicles can be used to support other government departments.

I strongly believe that the Shoura Council need not waste its time and energy on reviving the Haia and hope higher authorities would issue a decisive decision to abolish the commission.


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