Oct 17, 2011

Mutawwa'in: Saudia Arabia's Vice Squad

I am currently reading a book called, “In the land of invisible women” by Qanta Ahmed.  I am nearly finished and have found this book to be very fascinating.  She is an English Muslim, who is a doctor, which suddenly finds herself in Saudi Arabia.  Even for a Muslim, Saudi Arabia is a place that can be scary and intimidating, especially for a female.

This brings me to my subject:  Mutawwa’in. Their official title: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices. These men are the religious police that scour the city looking for religious offenders.  You know, looking for those folks who are going against their interpretation of Sharia Law.  Anyone that is engaged in homosexual behavior, prostitution, eating pork, drinking alcohol, not wearing an abayah or your veil or hijab is not on correctly could be in serious trouble.  If a store is found operating during prayer time and the “police” find it open, then it is forced to close.  Some people are beaten, taken to jail, or even deported (if an expat).  Qanta Ahmed was in a situation where she was at a dinner and both men and women were eating together.  The women were uncovered.  Somehow the Mutawwa'in found out and the place was raided, so to speak.  She was scared for her life along with her companions.  After much to-do, Qanta was escorted safely back to her living quarters.

I like the fact that here in the U.S. we are given the opportunity to accept or reject a way of life, a religion or whatever we choose.  I try to live my life like the Almighty is watching me all of the time, and He is.  I think that "He" is enough of the religious police that we need.  Do you have any thoughts?  I am open for discussion.

The picture is from here