"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

New Email Address:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

"Feared Saudi religious police reined in"

This is good news,

The Interior Ministry said it is taking measures to restrict the powers of the agency that runs the religious police, a force resented by many Saudis for interfering in their personal lives.

In a decree carried by the official Saudi Press Agency late Wednesday, Interior Minister Prince Nayef said members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or the religious police, can still make arrests in cases like the harassment of women, but probes will now be conducted by the public prosecutors.

"The role of the commission ... ends with the arrest of the suspect or suspects," said the decree, sent to provincial governors across the kingdom.

The morality squad has long enjoyed wide and unchallenged powers. Its members roam public places, such as malls, markets and universities, looking for such infractions as unrelated men and women mingling in public, men skipping the five daily prayers and women with strands of hair showing from under their veil.

They've scolded salesmen for dressing elegantly, waiters for serving food with a smile and young women for carrying pictures of heartthrobs, such as actor Leonardo di Caprio.

After the arrests, the religious police, known as muttawa in Arabic, would sometimes hold people incommunicado and insist on taking part in ensuing probes.

While some Saudis believe the commission plays a vital role in ensuring full compliance with the strict school of Islam Saudi Arabia follows, others have been speaking out against its intrusions. Some newspapers have published anecdotes of Saudi encounters with the feared agents.

The commission has said it is training its members to be more civil.

An increase in civility is not good enough in light of the action that has had deadly consequences.


  • At Sat May 27, 02:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger Cubed © said…

    Hmmm... I wonder if this has the same accuracy as the Saudi claim to have removed intolerance from their textbooks...

    You know, things like (for first graders):

    "Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words (Islam, hellfire): Every religion other than ____ is false. Whoever dies outside of Islam enters _____."

    And then, there's the stuff for sixth graders:

    "Just as Muslims were successful in the past when they came together in a sincere endeavor to evict the Christian crusaders from Palestine, so will the Arags and Muslims emerge victorious, Allah willing, against the Jews nd their allies if they stand together and fight a true jihad for Allah, for this is within Allah's power."

    It gets worse and worse as the kids get older.

    Well, since deception is considered a virtue in Islam, and they obviously figure we have the same literacy rates that the Arab world has (50 to 80%, depending on your source), and that there are no translators among us.

    WRONG! Little by little, reality is winning over PC.


Post a Comment

<< Home