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02 December 2023

Saudi speed camera system is “usury”

By Staff

A Saudi parliament member has launched a virulent attack on an advanced traffic camera system introduced recently into the Gulf Kingdom, saying it amounts to usury which is prohibited in Islam.

Talal Al-Bakri, who heads the social and family committee at the Shura (appointed parliament), made the attack during a session just after the new year to become the latest official in Saudi Arabia to criticize the system known as Saher, newspapers in the Kingdom reported on Wednesday.

Bakri said Saher, which has been enforced in Saudi Arabia within the past year, has been approved by what he described an “unqualified committee”, adding that the system has not been ratified by the Monarch.

Bakri also said he doubted traffic police statements that the sophisticated cameras are intended to protect lives, calling for dismantling the system.

“There should be a royal decree to install this system…streets even do not have the right infrastructure for this system as there are no signboards guiding drivers…citizens are receiving sms on their mobile phones about a traffic offence but they never know where and when,” he said.

“This system does not distinguish between real offenders and emergency cases and there are no special courts for settling disputes arising from this system…I think it has been introduced to collect money and for this reason I join the grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Shaikh in his description of the system as usury.”

Saher has triggered angry comments from officials and citizens since it was enforced last year. Newspapers have also reported several incidents involving smashing of those cameras by unknown assailants.