Silencing Voices: Saudi Authorities Dismissed 54 Imams for their Interaction with Community Matters

Saudi Arabia has been practicing suppressive measures against the freedom of opinion and speech since Mohamed bin Salman assumed the mandate of the Covenant, succeeding Muhammad bin Nayef, and subsequently established his state security apparatus.

 According to Prisoners of Conscience Twitter account, Saudi authorities dismissed 54 of the imams and preachers in Mecca, due to what it called “transgressions,” which was merely an expression of opinion regarding the fateful issues of the nation, which they are obliged to comment about.

 Human rights organizations condemned this act and considered it as an insistence of the Saudi authorities to follows arbitrary policies against imams and preachers, under the pretext of defying the Muslim Brotherhood, or accusing them of harming the kingdom’s national security, to stop them from commenting on the reality of their people and society.

The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, 54 imams and preachers excluded in Makkah Al-Mukarramah region, for allegedly committing administrative and intellectual violations, according to Saudi newspapers.

 Those dismissed included 17 imams and preachers from the holy capital, 18 from Jeddah, 3 From Al-Taif, 5 from Taraba, 3 from Al-Kharma,4 from Al-Qunfudhah, and one person in each Al-Kamil, Al-Layth, Al-Jumum and Bahra.

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In November 2020, the Saudi Al-Watan newspaper quoted an official government source as saying that the General Administration of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance in Makkah Al-Mukarramah region counted 100 imams and preachers in the Kingdom as violators, and then submitted a request to the ministry to issue a dismissal decision against them. His request was accepted, and they were accused of not participating in the campaign launched by Saudi Arabia against its opponents from all political, social and religious affiliations.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance said that it “will not tolerate anyone who violates the instructions it issues”, according to the source.

Mujtahid Twitter account published the image of the Saudi circular requiring the dismissal of imams and preachers who did not implement the order by reading a statement issued by the Council of Scholars regarding religious and opposition figures.

Human rights organizations are concerned about the regime forcing preachers to adhere to restricting their freedom, and preventing them from interact with the causes and matters that concern them.

Together for Justice called on the Saudi authorities to reconsider the dismissal decision, from the legal, human rights and humanitarian aspects, as this decision is considered to be contrary to the constitution and human rights laws, as those dismissed did not commit any offense punishable by the work law.

The organization also called for the protection of the rights of these imams and their families, as the decision issued by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Guidance and Dawah harms the families of the dismissed imams, calling for their return to their work as soon as possible.

READ MORE: Tetamman” and “Tawakkalna” is Saudi regime taking advantage of Covid19 to Spy on Citizens?

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