Saudi Shura Council passes draft law proposing charity fund to stop begging

The draft law includes the creation of a charity fund to help overcome begging in the kingdom

An aerial picture shows cars driving on a tree-lined road in the Saudi capital Riyadh, on March 29, 2021. - Although the OPEC kingpin seems an unlikely champion of clean energy, the "Saudi Green Initiative" aims to reduce emissions by generating half of its energy from renewables by 2030. (Photo by - / AFP)
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The Saudi Shura Council on Tuesday approved a draft law that includes a proposal to create a charity fund to stop begging, the Saudi Gazette reported.

Under the law, which the council passed by 110 to 20, using advanced information and communications technology to ask for money would also come under the category of begging.

Earlier, during discussion on the draft law, council member Dr Faisal Al Fadel presented proposals he said would bring the law more into line with Sharia.

Dr Al Fadel said provisions of the law included establishing a charitable fund to combat begging.

He suggested that the committee for family, social and youth affairs should add into the law a distinction between truly needy and fraudulent beggars.

Dr Al Fadel also proposed provisions to clarify the roles and duties of government agencies in battling begging.

Dr Samia Bukhari, vice chairwoman of the administration and human resources committee, also took part in the deliberations.

Dr Bukhari said the first article of the law, which defined begging, included use of modern technology and communications such as Twitter.

But she said it was not clear how to determine who was using new technology to beg and how they could be caught.

Dr Bukhari said the law also stipulated that those who practised begging should be referred to the "competent authority".

She said the definition of what was the competent authority should also be specified in the first article.

Dr Bukhari said the law did not spell out what should be done with people who were caught begging for the first time, only those caught twice or more.