The picture at left shows members of Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) AKA “the morality police” or “muttawa.” This group of extremists has been known to send outspoken Saudis to the whipping block, where they receive lashes for “breaches of morality” as defined by Sharia law.
While many feared the crowning of King Salman in 2015 would mean a more powerful religious police force, the country has decided to seriously curb the group’s power by forbidding members from arresting or pursuing suspects. According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), “members must instead report suspected crimes to the police or drug authorities, who will carry out law enforcement actions. Members are now also required to show identity cards while carrying out official duties…”
Here are a few “crimes” that fall under the force’s purview:
• Drug dealing
• “Mingling between the sexes” and other social issues
• Failing to properly veil oneself (women)
• Attempting to convert anyone away from Islam
• Failing to adhere to Islamic dietary requirements (restaurants and stores)
They have also been commanded to be “gentle and humane in their dealings with the public.” Furthermore, officers will no longer be permitted to “pursue, question, request identification from, or arrest suspects.”
While hardline clerics continue to argue that muttawa is an essential factor when it comes to enforcing Sunni Islam, the country’s younger generations are using social media to express their support for this change in protocol.
Editor’s Note: This is an older story, but it provides insight into the Islamic Law and how it infringes upon the freedoms of people. Its just that we take our freedom for granted sometimes.