Those crazy guys from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Saudi Arabia are at it again. The Saudi religious police have long been viewed internationally as menacing clowns who beat and arrest people deemed immoral under the country’s medieval Sharia law. Indeed, it is often difficult to distinguish the enforcement of Islamic values by the Saudis from stories in The Onion. This is another such case. Saudi Arabian actor Abdul Aziz Al Kassar has been arrested in a shopping mall for “taking selfies with female fans.” That’s right, satanic selfies.
The religious police would be viewed as demonstrably deranged in any other country other than Saudi Arabia and Iran. They were recently raiding birthday parties to arrest people dancing. religious police force that has been a constant presence in the Kingdom arresting woman having coffee with colleagues or forcing young girls to burn to death in fire rather than run out without their scarves. Then there was the time that the religious police in Dammam marched into a popular dinosaur exhibit and shut it down without any explanation of why the dinosaurs threatened the virtue of good Muslims. Then there was the flogging of a women who insulted them. Then there are the round ups of religious people for simply praying at home. Then there is the arrest of a man for standing in line with his wife at a grocery store. The list goes on and on. Yet, we continue to label Iran as an extremist nation while embracing Saudi Arabia as a close ally despite the systemic denial of the rights of women, dissidents, Christians, and journalists.
So here is the latest victory of the Saudi religious police. Al Kassar was swamped by fans and simply accommodated with selfie pictures on October 23rd. He was promptly arrested and accused of disturbing the public order, mixing with women unrelated to him and abusing social media.
Al Kassar pleaded for forgiveness and insisted “the presence of young women at the mall was not something under my control.” He was pulled into a small room by one of the Saudi religious minions: “I understood that the man who pulled me was a member of the Commission – and I did not resist him out of my respect for the Commission.” If so, he is one of the few with any respect for the Commission.
So Saudi Islamic morals have been saved again from the ravages of post-stone age technology.