Some people never change

*PVPV stands for Commission for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue

These past few weeks it seems like a day doesn’t pass without a new muttawa blooper coming out. I call them bloopers because the muttawas always have an excuse even if it’s only an oops. These bloopers are becoming more and more frequent. It might be because of more press freedom or because average people are not putting up with it anymore. Whatever it is, muttawa bloopers are definitely not a new concept. An online Saudi newspaper recently published photos of 84 year old documents pertaining to citizens complaining about false arrests and harassment by PVPV members!

You don’t need to go back in time to witness how bad the PVPV can behave. One man in Madina has threatened that he will sue the PVPV for stopping him for two hours on a main street. He had his wife and his mother-in-law in the car with him. A few members of the PVPV were cruising around and apparently decided that the guy looked suspicious so they stopped him even though it is illegal for them to stop people without having an accompanying police officer. The guy refused to neither open his door nor give them evidence as to how the two women are related to him until the police arrived. And so he says that he will sue them for 2 million riyals for stopping him on baseless grounds for two hours and tainting his reputation.

Another man, Mohammed Sultan, also had his wife and mother-in-law in the car with him. He had stopped at a restaurant to pick up some breakfast when a couple of PVPV members demanded that he provide them with his identification papers. He says that he insisted that the police be present and when he started to call the police on his cell phone, they beat him up. Half an hour later the police arrived after the PVPV members called them themselves. They had made such a big deal in their call that five police cars arrived at the scene. The poor guy was taken in and the PVPV pair claimed that they stopped him because he was wearing his pants low (rapper style), even though witnesses at the scene say that Sultan acted and was dressed respectfully.

But the craziest and scariest bloopers are those that happen when a woman is unlucky enough to collide with the PVPV. A couple of days ago, an unrelated young Saudi couple were caught during their rendezvous. The PVPV member directed the police officer to take the young man into custody while he took the girl in his personal car! He disappeared with her in his custudy for an hour and a half and when finally the PVPV member brought the girl in, she informed the officials he had taken her to an isolated area to lecture and advise her. What’s funny is that the PVPV member committed the exact same “crime” of khilwa (spending time alone with an unrelated woman) that he was accusing the couple of.

On a more serious note, last week a young woman was caught by PVPV members in Tabuk because she was trying to get to Jeddah without her guardian’s approval. They illegally took her to the PVPV center without reporting the issue to the police and then locked the doors to the building. The young woman claims that they beat her and were insisting that she had something hidden in her clothes. She also says that they were trying to tie her up when help came. Luckily it was prayer time in a mosque nearby and men there heard her screams and called the police when they found the building locked. The PVPV spokesperson, Mohammed al Zobaidi, gives a completely different account of the events. He claims the woman’s injuries were self-inflected because she probably thought that that was a way out and that it was the PVPV who called the police and not the people at the mosque.

I’m not the only one noticing the increasing frequency of muttawa blooper coverage, at a recent PVPV conference which last few papers I attended, most of the speakers commented on this bad publicity. Unfortunately they did not think of it as an opportunity to reflect on their practices but rather faulted the media. Some even thought the ministry of information should punish editors who allow negative PVPV articles. And this might be why an unidentified someone took it upon himself to shoot at the liberal Watan newspaper building in Abha. Some people never change.


Filed under Informative, Injustice

35 responses to “Some people never change

  1. 7esbe allah 3alaihum!

    walah they make ppl hate religion!

    they should be abolished!

  2. Usman

    Back in Pakistan, When infamous Hudood Ordinance was on its hype, Police used to stop couples and demands their Nikah Nama (Marriage certificate) to check if they are related or not. Of course nobody carries his/her Marriage Certificate all the times, hence you either have to bribe the police or spend a night in locker and if you are unlucky enough, your case is drawn to the court. This law held for some 27 years ruined the privacy of thousands of couples and finally ended in 2006, the only good measure taken by Musharraf regime.

    I can only imagine how grim the situation would be in KSA. My sympathies to Saudis!

  3. Sad, isn’t it… who will police the police?

    Yet the majority of our people seem to approve of those acts claiming that the bad have left nothing for the good people, and that these errors are normal due to the large indecencies which are committed.

  4. hi sister,

    thanx for your emails. It gives us in the west an impression of how daily life is in an totally different culture.

    please keep mailing me.

  5. Marcus

    Nothing will change until the good beautiful women of Saudi stand up, throw off their veils and shake their freely in the wind, wiht the air on their faces, warm sunlight, glistening, smiling wide and bright, teeth white and sparkling.. Yup… there you have it..

  6. thats scary!
    what if a man and a woman doing a bussiness together!?
    what do u they do?
    I think this have to be in Riyadh, Riyadh city has the most PVPV men ever!
    they are everywhere..
    they only place that I don’t see a pvpv in is female restrooms! hahaha
    man thats crazy!
    guy being stopped by the police and the pvpv for going out with his wife?
    how about this..
    divid ingSaudi Arabia into 2 parts .. one for men and the other for woman.. so pvpv can finally get some sleep! hahahaha

    ياخي ما افهم ايش سالفتهم هذولا
    كل يوم و الثاني مسوين حركه غبيه
    استفحلت فيهم الفضاااوه يروحو يمسكوو واحد و زوجتهّ!!!!ههههههههههه
    Ms. Eman check this link

    الموضوع كان عن الاختلاط… اخونا في الله شوي زودها و اقترح هدم الكعبه و إعادة بنائها عشان يفصلون النساء عن الرجال

  7. I am glad they are being shown that they are NOT above the law. I must admit that at times I do believe there is a need for them in society (until we at least teach our boys how to respect women), but there are many aspects of their unwritten jobs that I disagree with. I believe that there needs to be a written description as to what their job truly is. As it is now, each member goes about it his own way, and I believe that they make up the rules along the way. As religious police, there should be laws they must abide by, there must be a clear definition of what they should ‘stick’ their noses in and other areas that are truly none of their concern. They should also be taught some ‘people skills’, and treat people in a manner that will draw them to our wonderful religion not running in the other direction. Great Topic as always!

    PS- Loved meeting up with you today!

  8. Most police forces have a vice squad, and most have an Internal Affairs department that polices all the others.

    One thing I was warned about, with good reason, was not to assume the Moroccan police would have the same attitude as the Canadian forces toward women “in distress”, ie you could have more distress by going to them or with them.

    There have been abusive cases by police here too, but usually they are eventually caught, publicly tried, and fired.

    It is great to put this in historical perspective which shows that a more dramatic restructuring, re-training, and re-staffing is required if any part of their function is worth maintaining.

    I have had great language wars with the Canadian passport office about having an indication in French on my passport that I am married and to whom. Interestingly, the men are much nicer (?more protective) than the women about adding it in at all, and in the language of my choice, for my protection when I am in a Muslim country. The women are more caught up in…something unhelpful.

    Thanks for another interesting post!

  9. Pingback: Tweets that mention Some people never change « Saudiwoman’s Weblog --

  10. sorry, too much bolding 😦 It should only have been on “in French” 😦

  11. Maria

    Let’s share this with all of you.
    I read it in a newspaper [Saudi gazette or Arab News] a couple of months ago that PVPV caught an unrelated couple and got them married straight away. LOL. The couple was so happy . They said that we never thought we’ll get married this easily.
    Eman, you always show the dark part of the Saudi community. Be neutral and show the bright part too. Everyone show the bright part of their country and you’re so odd, I really don’t get you.

    • Laura

      A couple should get married just if and when they both want. There’s nothing bright to show in the story you told.

    • Elise


      There’s a 75% chance that couple will be divorced in a few years after children have come in the picture and a lives will be destroyed all because the government FORCED them to do something without free agency.

      There is nothing good in the story you mention… it is horrific.

    • Maria is this the same non muslim couple I read about? that they converted and than married in a short time? I don’t see how that is ‘bright’ part of Saudi.

      • Maria

        No, they were muslim. I didn’t say that it’s a bright part but it’s funny. I just asked Eman to show the bright part of KSA. You guys are so irritatin’. Dunderheads!

  12. Alexandra

    Odd that the other four-fifths of humanity does not seem to have a problem with men and women working, playing or worshiping side by side, with women in normal clothes and not forcing those women to wear a trash bag. Only Muslims and especially Saudis seem to have difficulty with the two genders in the same proximity.

    Again I ask, what is wrong with Muslim men that they show so little respect for their women?

    When will the Saudis choose freedom, the rule of law and gender equality?

    Who knows?

    No wonder the rest of the world does not care.

    • Usman

      We don’t care what you think.

      • Elise

        That’s really dismissive of you Usman… and certainly doesn’t do any good in educating anyone about how uncivilized people may seem. You are only reinforcing that notion with your lack of thought in your reply.

      • Alexandra

        Usman stated: “We don’t care what you think.”

        Ah, Usman is clearly a thinking person.

        So, you approve of discriminatory Islamic laws? Why not? Men benefit and the ummah loses.

        Today the hostess has a post about child marriage, so prevalent in the Islamic world. Why not? The perfect man, Muhammad married a six year old and consummated that marriage when the child was nine. Therefore it’s justified under sharia.

        No doubt the PVPV would approve of your line of thinking since it’s in the Qur’an and the ahadith.

YUSUFALI: Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband’s) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all).

PICKTHAL: Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

SHAKIR: Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

      • Marcus

        its my ball and I`m not playing, I am taking it home… Get over yourself.. Good open honest transparent respectful debate is healthy.. Only closed off folk would not care what anyone elses point of view is considered..

  13. Maria

    OMG! Why doesn’t the government take strong action against this injustice. This is so unbearable.

  14. Laurea

    oh, the muttawas..and the never-ending stupidity.
    These people really make such a bad name for Islam, they should be ashamed!!

    Ive had numerous encounters with these “pious” men.
    The first few times it was a little scary, and I obeyed what they were shouting at me. (cover your hair!) I wasnt Muslim yet back then.
    Nowadays I do cover my hair anyways but I still seem to keep bumping into them at shopping malls. But my attitude toward them now is total ignoring. I act like I cant even here them. Anyways, they are not supposed to talk to a strange unrelated woman are they? So I just mind my own business and let them follow me and shout after me(now its cover ur face, ur abaya is too colorful or something as stupid). They cant do anything without the police, so why listen? Why give them the power to harass us?
    I wish women wouldnt be so afraid of them!Just ignore them, or tell them they are not allowed to talk to you!Fight back, dont let these crazy, women-hating, lowlife maggots bother you!

  15. Jennifer

    Hello, I am looking for fellow females to be E-mail buddies with. I was taught some awful things about your people and your culture and religion..I am a married Christian female in America looking for friends outside my country to make friends with…please be my friend, I want to learn more about what it’s like being a female in another country.

    BTW that would be awful if I had to carry my marriage certificate with me all the time…I don’t even remember where it is lol

    • Marcus

      HI Jennifer,
      we have spoken on another thread.. I would be happy to continue chatting with you, not a girl though.. Hope your not sexist 😉

      • Jennifer

        Sexist? How can I be sexist? But anyway, sure I can talk to you Marcus. I really appreciate your thoughts and conversation.


  16. Again. My offer stays open for a location swap. You will love the cops here!

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