Saudi Religious Police Stripped Of Power To Arrest

125px-Coat_of_arms_of_Saudi_Arabia.svgWe regularly discuss horrific reports from Saudi Arabia of beheadings and floggings under its medieval Islamic Sharia law system. Finally, there is a chance to report on a positive development out of the Kingdom. The Saudi cabinet has approved a major change related to the infamous religious police, or Mutawaa. The religious police will now longer have the power to arrest citizens and must report all alleged crimes to the police instead. Of course, the reform falls short of the obvious and most meaningful reform: getting rid of the roaming religious police entirely.

Formally known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the force has been regularly accused of thuggish and abusive actions. 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.

The Cabinet this week added directions for the religious police to act “kindly and gently” in enforcing Islamic rules. I guess that means not forcing girls into burning buildings to die rather than run to safety without a veil.

The new regulations state that “Neither the heads nor members of the Haia are to stop or arrest or chase people or ask for their IDs or follow them – that is considered the jurisdiction of the police or the drug unit.”

That is clearly an advance forward. Now let’s work on such basic concepts of free speech, free exercise, and the separation of mosque and state.

16 thoughts on “Saudi Religious Police Stripped Of Power To Arrest”

  1. Olly if you want to make a difference put hippa in your back pocket. Become a “medical reasearcher” no credentials are required. And you can make an irb. Then research who ever the gov called “paranoid schizo” and that will help find the truth.

  2. 0Lly hear ya….but we had 16 years to rewrite the 28 pages. I feel your instinct they change their ways or obama publishes….but on the chess board….those twenty eight pages will only tell us what we already knew. Like what the fbi gal in minnesota already told us plus whats been leaked. Nothing new. Like my coworker told me about 911 three years out. The fbi don’t care….about that. Don’t care to look into the command er. We”ll only get a 28 page cover up. Everyone else heralding facts is a paranoid schizophrenic.

  3. This is likely an effort to mute increasing criticism of Saudi Arabian domestic policy by reining in religious vigilantism. However, the “reform” notably makes no changes in substantive law.

  4. Karen S

    Isn’t it obvious? There have been no changes to the laws. No amendments to impact what is acceptable and what is deemed unacceptable. Isn’t that evident? The monarchy has no control when these bands of roving savages descend upon some unsuspecting person, in the street or the market. Who knows? Maybe some influential or wealthy individual will be targeted and harmed? Perhaps the child or grandchild of some high-ranking person will be caught and summarily beheaded? The monarchy couldn’t have that now, could it? Only by denying and/or limiting the scope of rights given to uncontrollable packs and gangs of Muslim lunatics, where they are now forced to FIRST contact the official, state police, can the Saudis ever hope to make the appropriate examples–through stoning, beheadings, hangings and amputations–of the little people. The nobodies of society. You don’t actually think that atrocities like those occur to those who are influential, connected or wealthy, do you? Turley viewing this as a positive signal is ludicrous.

  5. What is the end result? Do the police then make the arrest? Does it really matter if it’s the Mutawaa or the police who arrest you for having coffee or driving? Has the law actually changed, or is this simply a jurisdictional change?

  6. I am going to take a wait and see attitude. They still get to report to the police and it is possible the police will be so overwhelmed taking their sighting, they will have nothing else to do.

  7. Take a look at to see the strong inverse correlation between strong religious affinity and increasing levels of education. The US needs to provide education to Saudis, not weapons.

  8. We do not need their friggin oil and gas. We need to drill more of that stuff in N. America and not ship it out. To hell with the pipeline. Quit paying those astards to be the same.

  9. 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report possibly coming out wouldn’t have anything to do with SA trying to appear less radical now would it?

  10. This is the Most encouraging news I have head in a long time. Let us all come together to solve our Religious differences with compassion and not by Law or at the barrel of a gun.

  11. Once reported to the police, such abuse of course is likely to continue. Though one can hope a new, massive backlog begins.

  12. Only someone supremely naive and purposefully ignorant or blind to the realities of life within the confines of Saudi Arabia would choose to view this as a step in the right direction. Get real. It’s obviously not that, at all. Think about it–it’s really quite simple, boys and girls. In a country, where wealth, connections, family name and position play dominant and major roles, the monarchy, in its quest to tighten the reins on the uncontrolled and barbaric Mutawaa–the roving, unrestrained religious police–is merely seeking to exert its authority and dominance by requiring that those roving, unrestrained members first alert the kingdom’s police of the alleged infractions, therefore allowing it to have full control over who is arrested and/or punished. Got it? A step in the right direction? Puh-leez. The monarchy simply can’t and won’t tolerate having members of wealthy, powerful or influential families mistakenly being treated like everyone else, where they would be subjected to the savage and barbaric treatment reserved for the average guy on the street. By demanding that problems first be brought to the police, the kingdom guarantees that only the weak and unimportant individuals within its society meet with the inhumane and savage treatment routinely dolled out to those guilty of transgressions. How is that a step in the right direction?

  13. “The United States is opposed to the use of torture in any form at any time by any government or non-state actor,” Kerry told reporters at the State Department.

    ^^^ Lmao! I can’t wait to see Kerry’s nose and how much it’s grown. . . . again!

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