We previously discussed how the Saudi government has ordered that men can no longer work in women’s lingerie or cosmetic departments or stores. Such work is viewed as an insult to Islam and, on Thursday, the infamous Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) will be sweeping through stores looking for any male workers. The religious police also recently announced that they will be cracking down on women with “sexy eyes.” So covering up in a burka is not enough if you have Bette Davis eyes. Sheikh Motlab al Nabet, spokesman of Saudi Arabia’s religious police, declared that “[t]he men of the committee will interfere to force women to cover their eyes, especially the tempting ones.”
This is the same group of men who, in March 2002, were accused by parents and witnesses of killing 14 young girls who died of burns or smoke asphyxiation by a fire in their public school in Mecca. The religious police reportedly forcibly prevented girls from escaping the burning school by locking the doors of the school and barring firemen from entering because the girls were not properly covered. They feared physical contact with firemen and police might be sexual enticement.
The latest crackdown includes rules that all-female stores must be blocked from the view of men to avoid passing enticement or excitement.
Thousands of women have applied for the open jobs. In the meantime, the religious police are also promising to crackdown on any interaction of female and male employees, who are supposed to be segregated in department stores with male and female areas.
When Sheikh Motlab al Nabet wakes up screaming at night with frights, this is what he hears . . .