Are you a muttawa?

Katie Couric from CBS News stops a Saudi man on the street and asks him if he is a muttawa. I found that really funny. You don’t ask a religious fanatic if he is a religious fanatic. The way that she stood there and with a matter of fact attitude claimed that women are not allowed to go to the open market unescorted. Couldn’t she have asked a Saudi? I’m speculating here but she probably asked some non-Saudi Arab translator (Lebanese or Egyptian), someone who probably doesn’t even live in Riyadh.

To set the record straight, I could right now go alone to that very same market and shop until I drop and no one would say a thing. It just happens that she was probably filming on a weekday night and hence there weren’t that many people of either sex. And the term muttawa is a colloquial term that should not be used by a reporter and especially not to ask someone who might be a muttawa. It comes from the Arabic word mutatwa and it basically means volunteer because men are not paid that much to monitor morality in society. Now in Saudi slang it has negative connotations and is used to refer to someone (man or woman) who is a self-righteous Islamic fundamentalist that goes around correcting people regardless of whether or not they are employed by the PVPV. A true muttawa would call himself a member of Al Hisba which means ‘those who hold people accountable’. And their over the top religious life style is called Eltizam and so the person would refer to himself as multizim.


Filed under Regional and International

19 responses to “Are you a muttawa?

  1. Dulce

    I guess she didn’t do enough research in preparation for her visit.

  2. Westerners, especially non-Muslim Westerners who visit the Kingdom are always obssessed with such matters as abayas, executions and mutawa. Katie is merely expressing a predictable reaction to her experience. There’s nothing new here, and nothing newsworthy. She’s skimming the surface, rather chopily, I might add.

  3. Jerry M

    I don’t care for stunts and this was a stunt. It is a display for the cameras. Real foreign reporting is done by people who spend a lot of time in the region they cover.

    There are so many real issues that would make good stories. For example, how much success is Saudi Arabia having at moving its economy from total oil dependency to a something more diverse? Of course those real stories aren’t as visual and take time and money. It is so much easier to put on a black cloak and ask stupid questions.

  4. saudiwoman

    To the person Ay if you don’t like my blog don’t read it. And if you want to attack me start your own blog because I won’t allow it here.

  5. Sounded like novice sensationalism journalism to me. Pretty sad and pathetic…particularly as she could have been set up with interviews with REAL Saudi women!

  6. TW

    Par for the course with Couric and the MSM of the USA.

  7. I just blogged about this I almost chocked when she said women can’t go out unescorted.

    That poor Saudi guy must think all us American women are idiots 🙂 Im surprised she didn’t ask him if he had a harem

  8. That woman is an idiot and is ging us a bad name….
    Jerry…your so very correct here.

  9. teachthemasses

    Katie should come up our way (Kuwait) and do a report on a teacher (US citizen) at our school who told my friend ( a new convert ) that her hijab was B***S***…… Now that’s religious intolerance and ignorance for you, eh?
    Don’t worry, we’re ”following it up”…..:P
    Perhaps this teacher could get a job with CBS?

  10. Занятно пишете, жизненно. Все-таки, для того, чтобы делать по-настоящему интересный блог, нужно не только сообщать о чем-то, но и делать это в интересной форме:)

  11. unlizzzzzted

    Saudiwoman… …Come on knock it off!!!! You gotta be able to accept criticism…It seems your carrying the banner for freedom of speech…So give up the haqq….as long as there is no slander to islam..unlissted2009

  12. Debra

    She is an idiot who didn’t even do the most research. How embarassing.

  13. Hafsa

    i lived in Saudi for 2 yrs and i used to fo to the market place all the time with my mother and nobody wud stop us! and there were many women who wud be their alone or with their friends.

  14. some women are still prisoners

    It may not be law, or some women may be able to go out unescorted. But maybe some women may not be allowed to go out unescorted. Depending on how free or strict their families are. Or how much they care about the women’s feelings and freedoms, and rights as an individual or not.

  15. Спасибо за познавательную статью!

  16. Amazonbaby

    Katy doesn’t grace us with news – she gives us fluff. I get sick and tired of Western reporters always asking about being covered and not being able to drive. That was a stupid stunt she tried to pull. It is something you might do in a different environment for a different subject. It seems there is a fear of showing other countries doing better than the USA.

  17. LOL
    hahah I saw this interview long time ago..
    its really funny

  18. See if you were here, you and lopsided wierd mouthed fun teeth Cowric could moo and chew together in blatant nudity in the lush fields of paganistic free masonry AND GET PAID FOR IT…!!!
    I feel bad that you can’t live up to your bovine potential…:(

  19. Katie Couric is just plain stupid.

    My cat is smarter than her.

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