Saudis want their virtue police back

Published April 18th, 2016 - 01:55 GMT
In the past, religious police were able to arrest Saudis for inappropriate dress (AFP)
In the past, religious police were able to arrest Saudis for inappropriate dress (AFP)

Saudi Arabia made a surprise turnaround last week, when the government stripped powers of arrest from the country’s notorious morality police.

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, as they are officially known, are responsible for upholding various religious morals – from preventing drug dealing to enforcing modest dress – across the Kingdom. Where they were once allowed to detain citizens – sometimes with significant violence – to ensure the rules, they’ll have to defer to other authorities.

The news was greeted with happiness from some Saudi citizens. But the celebrations were by no means universal.

Over the past few days, many Saudis have taken to Twitter to express fury and sadness that the enforcers of conservative codes are not the power they once were, using the Arabic hashtag #Give the Virtue Police its Powers Back".

To protect us and protect our morals please give them back their powers.

Who will protect us from wizards, blackmailing, prostitution except for Allah and the Committee members.

Many are worried that removing the Committee’s powers of arrest could be a slippery slope to even more extreme transgressions:

They have stripped the Committee from its powers and now they are discussing allowing women to drive, may Allah keep us away of sin.

Sexual licentiousness is a big worry for those calling for the police to be restored to power:

Only 2 people support limiting the Committee’s power
1- A girl who wants to live a liberal life full of sins
2- A man who wants to meet this girl, have an affair with her and throw her away.

As a young man I know what young men think, the hashtag is 100% accurate and undeniable; it said it all in a few words.

But the restriction on their powers opens the door to any number of terrors:

They protect our community from homosexuals and wizards we should give them back their powers.

Earlier today, #Chivas_Whiskey began trending on Saudi Twitter, indicating, perhaps, that worst fears of the Committee’s supporters could already be close at hand.

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