RIYADH – The Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Hai’a) has no plans to install surveillance cameras in shopping malls, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Humayyen, General President of the Hai’a, has stated.
“The Hai’a will never take such a move nor have any connection with surveillance cameras inside or outside malls,” Al-Humayyen was quoted as saying by Al-Hayat Arabic daily Monday.
Al-Humayyen refuted the news which has been widely published by the media producing strong reactions of both support and opposition, and said that suggestions that the Hai’a would exploit cameras in shopping malls and public areas to expose and intrude on people’s privacy were “false and baseless.”
“The Hai’a has nothing to do with surveillance cameras in shopping centers,” Al-Humayyen told Al-Hayat. “But if we are notified of any violation, we will respond immediately and look into the nature of the violation before we take any further steps.”
Al-Humayyen said the Hai’a’s long history of public work and staff competency would not allow it to resort to “such methods which breach public privacy” and that the Hai’a would “not relinquish its reform policy, based on correcting mistakes, without publicizing them.”
“We will continue to maintain these principles and apply them in both spirit and letter,” Al-Humayyen said. “We will never deviate from this line. We correct mistakes with wisdom and by weighing good intentions over bad ones.”
Meanwhile, Ibrahim Al-Homayyel, the Hai’a Deputy President, has said the Hai’a is set to sign agreements with ministries to deal with what he called “incidents offending public morality committed by some unruly youth in this country”.
Al-Homayyel said the Hai’a would work with the ministries of Education, Culture and Information, Municipal and Rural Affairs, and the General Presidency of Youth Welfare to fight alien customs such as “strange hairstyles, western clothes and sexual harassment.”
The Strategic Studies Center affiliated to the Hai’a has conducted a series of studies on what it called “alien habits” manifested in haircuts and neck chains worn by some teenagers influenced by Western fashion.
Al-Homayyel also categorically denied rumors that the Hai’a employed freelancers or took on volunteers.
“The Hai’a does not have any part-time staff or volunteers,” he told Al-Hayat. “We never allow anyone other than our staff to carry out our duties and tasks. The public should know that Hai’a staff wear badges.”
Al-Homayyel appealed to the public to understand the role played by the Hai’a in the Kingdom and to “fully cooperate with it as its task is to protect society from all evils,” the newspaper reported. – SG