According to Sheikh Abdul Latif Aziz al-Sheikh, those who use social media sites, especially Twitter, have not only lost this world but also their afterlife. The religious police head's remarks echo the concerns of Riyadh that Twitter is being used by Saudis to express opinions about sensitive political as well as other issues. The reason for the conservative kingdom's concern can be attributed to the fact that Saudi Arabia is seeing the world's fastest growth in the use of this social media platform according to the BBC. In April this year, the imam of Grand Mosque, Mecca, warned during the course of the sermon that Twitter was threatening Saudi's national unity.
The sermon was watched by millions on television. Grand Mufti, the most senior Muslim cleric in Saudi Arabia, had earlier on called Twitter users “fools”. The verbal attacks on Twitter by the religious leaders are seen as part of a determined offensive launched against the social media platform by Saudi's establishment. Many of the Saudi citizens have seized the opportunity presented by Twitter to quickly and effectively communicate and express opinions in a traditionally conservative society.
The Kingdom's concern about Twitter stems from the fact that the social media platform has been made use of to keep people informed about human rights activists on trial. Twitter has been used not only to post tweets about the protests that the Eastern Province witnessed recently, but also to upload images of the human rights activists when the trial was underway in the court.
This prompted the authorities to initiate action to link Twitter accounts of Saudis with their ID numbers so that some amount of restriction can be imposed. Several online activists have been jailed. At least one of them has been detained for alleged apostasy which could carry a death penalty.