Over the last few years, Saudi Arabia has been working to curb extremism in the country and have a more tolerant atmosphere across society, through various initiatives and decrees. This week, in line with its approach, the Kingdom requested that imams of all mosques make the subject of human trafficking the main theme of their sermons. According to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the directive was given by Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Dr. Abdullateef Bin Abdulaziz Al-Asheikh, who clarified further by highlighting how forced labor and the withholding or delaying of payment to workers as key parts of the main theme of human trafficking.
Established in 1993, the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance is a Saudi government agency with various responsibilities, such as overseeing Islamic affairs, maintaining mosques, supervising King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur'an, and increasing the awareness of the good practice of Islam. As Minister of the organization, Dr. Al-Asheikh strongly urged that Friday’s sermons highlight the issue of human trafficking from the perspective of the Shariah, highlighting Islamic values and principles, as well as the religious edicts issued by the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia.
Over the last two years, Saudi Arabia has been making headlines across the globe for its efforts to improve interfaith relations, as well as encourage a more tolerant atmosphere of religious practice and belief in the Kingdom. For instance, earlier this year, in line with the country’s recent efforts, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs announced that it would be providing additional training on Islamic moderation and tolerance to more than 4,000 imams, preachers, and muezzins across the country.