A group of Saudi's launched a group on a popular social networking website called The Facebook Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice and have so far to attracted more than 500 members.
The group, named after the kingdom's Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice also known as the religious police, aims to introduce people to the religious police, the London-based al-Hayat reported Friday.
The group's administrators have set several conditions for membership, including, no foul language or slandering officials, only serious topics open for discussion and posters should be tolerant and open-minded.
If members insult Islam they will be allowed three warnings before they are deleted from the group.
Many Saudis were keen to join the group and a large portion of members praised the role the committee plays in the Saudi society and the way they protect citizens and imposes order.
Some members pointed out that the act of promoting virtue and preventing vice should not be confined to the religious police only and argued it was a basic principle in Islam to look after one's society.
Other members criticized the group for deleting their posts and accused the administrator of persecution.
“This is not true,” the group’s administrator told the paper. “We only delete posts if they insult Islam. Otherwise, the members who start the discussion have the right to delete comments that they don’t not like.”
Volunteers respond to allegations about the committee and provide advice and promote Islamic principles. The official religious police, however, have said they have no ties with the Facebook group.
“Until now we have had no contribution in the Facebook group and are not responsible for its content” the committee’s media spokesman Abdul-Mohsen al-Qafari told the paper.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)