In Al Madina newspaper yesterday there was an interview with the dean of the high institute of the prevention of vice and promotion of virtue (PVPV), Khalid Al Shammrani, PhD. This is the guy who teaches muttawas how to do it professionally and let me tell you it is not pretty. The institute was established in 2004 in order to assist in countering the bad behavior of the PVPVs in dealing with people. It’s where a muttawa can get a one year postgraduate diploma in telling people how to live their lives. Dean Khalid put it beautifully when he was asked about what they train muttawas to do, he said a muttawa is trained to handle “the person of sin” as a doctor handles a patient; sometimes a doctor has to be tough on his patient to ensure healing and so does a muttawa with a person of sin has to resort to Islamically sanctioned means to heal sin and then have the offender reprimanded by the courts.
In the interview published yesterday, dean Khalid expressed his frustration with the ministry of labour because they have been trying to provide jobs for Saudi women. He stated that this is not an area for the ministry to delve in and that it is unacceptable. He moved on to say that the gap that is growing between the people and the PVPV is artificially created by the media. He accused the media of purposely misleading public opinion by giving the PVPV bad publicity and not being objective in its reporting. He backs this up with a claim that opinion polls show that Saudis want the PVPV. Dean Khalid believes that all this demand for more rights and jobs for women is due to western influence. He also announced the founding of a new charity and organization for the study of the importance of the PVPV in Islam and to modernize the PVPV so that it is better able to face today’s kinds of sins. And so on and so forth.
In all his interviews he calls what the PVPV is doing accountability and the muttawas are the ones who make sure that people are accountable for their “sins”. What first caught my attention was of course his take on employing women and I am not alone on this because the newspaper put it as the headline of the article. So the ministry of labour has infringed its area by attempting to encourage the employment of Saudi women and the PVPV are here to put Al Qosaibi in his place and rescue women back to poverty and objectification. I bet that dean Khalid thought that the headline was going to be about the new organization.
Even though I live it, I am constantly shocked by how these muttawas dismiss women as infant-like and not deserving of the most basic rights. But above all I hate Saudi women for lying down and taking it, myself included.