News24

Saudi religious police mall row video

2012-06-04 21:14

Riyadh - The head of the Saudi religious police has come out strongly against one of his men who ordered a woman to leave a mall because she was wearing nail polish, a local daily reported on Monday.

"The world is manufacturing airplanes and we are still telling a woman 'leave the mall because you've got nail polish on your fingers'," local daily Al-Watan quoted Sheikh Abdullatiff Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh as saying.

The woman had defied the orders as she filmed her argument with the policeman and posted it on YouTube, in a video that attracted more than a million hits in the first few days after it went online.

"I was very disappointed by what I have seen. The matter has been exaggerated and negatively exploited," Sheikh, head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said.

"The way the member of the commission behaved was not right, even if the girl had gone too far. He should have offered her advice and left instead of arguing with her and escalating" the situation, he said.

The three and a half minute video posted on May 23 shows members of the notorious commission telling the woman to "get out of here [the mall]".

But she refuses to comply, saying: "I'm staying and I want to know what you're going to do about" it.

"It's none of your business if I wear nail polish," the unidentified woman, who is not seen on tape, is heard shouting at bearded men from the feared religious force.

"You are not in charge of me," she defiantly shouts back, referring to new constraints imposed earlier this year on the religious police, banning them from harassing Saudi women over their behaviour and attire.

"The government has banned you from coming after us," she told the men, adding "you are only supposed to provide advice, and nothing more."

At one point during the video, she cautions the religious police that she has already posted the exchange online.

It is not clear if the woman was eventually forced to leave the mall.

It earned only about 2 775 "likes, while the number of "dislikes" reached almost 8 400.

Sheikh said that any member of the religious police "who abuses citizens or attacks them has no place in the commission".

In January, King Abdullah appointed Sheikh, a moderate, to head the religious police, raising hopes that a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the Islamic country.

Two weeks into his post, Sheikh banned volunteers from serving in the commission which enforces the kingdom's strict Islamic rules.

And in April he went further, prohibiting the religious police from "harassing people" and threatening "decisive measures against violators".

The religious police prevent women from driving, require them to be covered from head to foot in black, ban public entertainment, and force all businesses, from supermarkets to petrol stations, to close at prayer times, five times a day.

Comments
  • michael.a.devilliers - 2012-06-04 21:31

    Some places are just a little bit behind the times.

      zaatheist - 2012-06-05 06:06

      You got thumbed down by people who want to live in a country with religious police that enforce the suppression of women. * shakes head *

  • rudiwaan.joseph - 2012-06-04 22:03

    early this year a friend of mine told me that his pastor has banned females in their church from useing lipstick, nail polish or any form of make up. He also ordered them to cover their hair when in church and finally told all females to sit at back of the church! Around easter this year a hindu client of mine was told to leave a temple because she was dressed to modern, by a india priest. in jhb somewhere a woman was insulted and touched by taxi drivers at a rank because she was wearing a mini skirt! And now this! Does dressing etc. Affect our values or morals? If so...does the authorities have the right to rule on this? It seems to affect all cultures religions and nations!

      zaatheist - 2012-06-05 05:59

      Religions and gods have always been the inventions of men who are afraid of having a normal equal relationship with women. George Carlin said it best - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

      Grant - 2012-06-05 09:00

      @zaatheist - you obviously do not know what you are talking about, best then just to keep quiet. Men from all parts of soceity have been trying to oppress women, and women of all walks of soceity have been trying to fight for equal rights, religion has been just one of those vehicles. Christianity (and Judaism), as in the bible (not the sects), has been one of the foremost sectors in society that has fought for the rights of women and against the abusive in soceity. Remember Zaatheist, each time I read one of your crazy comments, I am reminded to pray for you!!!

      zaatheist - 2012-06-05 11:29

      Haha nochimp Dear God Nochimp here. I prostrate myself before you oh almighty GOD and want to pray for zaatheist. Yes, that nasty person who laughs and mocks you and says you don't exist. Please god make a note of his name and please I beg you, cast him to eternal hell fire and damnation when he dies so I can sit with Jesus in heaven and watch him suffer, Fap, fap. NoChimp

      Grant - 2012-06-05 12:01

      Really funny zaatheist - what I am praying for you is that God blesses you, gives you real wisdom and insight, and that you may hear His voice speak to you that He loves you.

      Makulu Nyoka - 2013-04-02 07:42

      The bible (and Koran) is a handbook for the suppression and abuse of women. God, in all his many formats, was independently invented by chiefs and despots around the world as a way of controlling the ignorant, mindless and unthinking masses. Christianity and Islam are striking examples of their success.

  • Savannah - 2012-06-05 06:41

    Welcome to my world. You think you have issues in South Africa?

  • Alfred - 2012-06-05 08:16

    A few years ago these same fanatical religious police prevented schoolgirls from fleeing their burning school because they were not fully covered. I think something like 30 of them died or more correctly were murdered by these insane fanatics.

      Paco - 2012-06-05 10:22

      u keep lying to yourself eventually u will become a believer

  • mhamiltonwalker - 2012-06-05 13:06

    Saudi Arabia is a country that is not ruled by the King but by the Religeon. What a shame!! What a shame that Saudi hire so many foreign workers to do their work. Mr Religious police why don't you start focusing on your traffic and road problems. You have the highests road traffic accident rate in the world!! 800 accidents per day. Stop focus on innocent women. Prepare your women with education and work and be proud of them.

  • Ryno - 2012-06-05 16:08

    this reminds of a certain incident regarding a painting...

  • stephanie.v.rooyen - 2012-06-06 06:59

    I hate the muwata! Have been followed by the creepy bastards in the same mall as the woman in the video a couple of times. They are horrible men who have nothing better to do than harrass women!!! They even tried to take my one friend's phone from her, probably so that they can perve over the photos she has of her female friends without the abayas and hijabs on. Very haram!!

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