ABHA: An imam in a mosque in the western city of Baha was arrested on charges of burglary, local police said yesterday.
“The Saudi man is suspected to have been involved in burgling several shops and engaging in some other illegal activities,” the source told Arab News yesterday.
The police source refused to disclose more details on the arrest or the name of the suspect. Disclosure of any details would hamper the ongoing investigations, the source said.
“The arrested man has also been working as a teacher in an school and is 33 years old,” according to another knowledgeable source who wants to remain anonymous.
Nasser Badran, the director of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Propagation and Guidance for Baha province, confirmed to Arab News that an imam of a mosque in Baha was arrested.
“My office communicated with the police to learn of the details about the issue. If the allegations against him are proved ... appropriate action would be taken,” Badran said.
However, he did not specify the penal action that would be taken against him. When contacted by Arab News, Abdullah Humaid, director of the ministry’s branch in the neighboring Asir province, gave more details on the procedure of how erring imams would be handled by the authorities.
“If any administrative violation is proved against the imam the case would be handled by the ministry’s branch and penal action would depend on the magnitude of the violation,” he said.
If the violation were only administrative, the punishment would be a deduction in his monthly salary or a dismissal from his job. But if the violation involved is a bigger crime, he would be handed over to the police,” Humaid said.
Humaid also outlined the qualifications for becoming an imam.
Officials from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Propagation and Guidance interview imams. The ministry also periodically inspects mosques and the conduct of their imams. An imam that leads Friday prayers usually earns about SR3,000. Imams that do not lead Friday prayers earn roughly half of that sum.
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