Saudi religious police taught how to deal with tourists

Published June 28th, 2012 - 12:32 GMT
The religious police handing out some friendly advice
The religious police handing out some friendly advice

The Saudi religious police are probably not the Kingdom’s biggest tourist draw. In fact potential western tourists may be put off by the thought of a run in with them.  

Unlike the Royal Guards at Buckingham Palace for example, police from the Commission For the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) are not usually found at the Kingdom’s tourist sites.

But all that’s about to change as the Saudi High Tourism Commission has decreed that 450 religious policemen will be trained to work in tourist areas and places of public interest.

Sheikh Abdulatif al-Sheikh, head of the Muttawa (religious police) said his men would be trained to deal with all categories of tourists, “literally without a prejudice but to the parameters of Sharia law”, according to Al Shareq newspaper.

It’s not yet clear exactly how the religious policemen will be helping Saudi tourism as they are more usually involved in conducting strict checks on women’s nail polish or ensuring that citizens perform their prayers on time.

At present the scheme is in trial stage. For the past five months the select 450 relgious police have been trained by the tourism commission across 12 different regions of the Kingdom but Al Sheikh hopes all his men will eventually be involved in the program.



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