Wil Saudi Arabia Curb the Morals Police?
This is a tiny little article in the Qatar Gulf Times:
New curbs on Saudi moral police: reports
Saudi Arabia will curb the powers of its religious police, a newspaper report said yesterday.
“The new system will set a mechanism for the field work of the committee’s men which hands over some of their specialisations to other state bodies, such as arrests and interrogations,” Al Hayat daily quoted religious police chief Sheikh Abdullatiff Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh as saying.
Agents of the body known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice will also be banned from carrying out “searches without prior approval from the governor”, he said.
Okaz daily also reported that the religious police agents will be prohibited from “standing at the entrances of shopping malls to prevent the entry of any person”, referring to attempts by agents to ban women who do not comply with the Islamic dress code and unmarried couples from entering malls.
Sheikh was appointed in January as the new chief of the religious police. Two weeks into his post, he banned volunteers from serving in the commission which enforces the kingdom’s Islamic rules.
In April he went further, prohibiting the religious police from “harassing people” and threatening “decisive measures against violators”.
In June, Sheikh came out strongly against one of his men who ordered a woman to leave a mall because she was wearing nail polish.
The woman had defied the orders as she filmed her argument with the policeman and posted it on YouTube.