Religious Police in Saudi

A law unto themselves

15th November

Update: Anti-Freedom...

Saudi religious police arrest and beat poet blogger

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has reported that blogger Roshdi Algadir was arrested by religious police in Saudi Arabia on 4th November.

He was taken from his place of work in Al-Dammam city, held for three hours, beaten up and forced to sign an agreement never again to publish his work on the internet. The reason behind the attack is a poem that Algadir has posted on his blog (in Arabic) .

Roshdi Algadir, winner of an international award for his collections of poetry, had posted some of them on his blog. Following this he was surprised by members of the Hisba apparatus who snatched him from his work, beat him and accused him of apostasy.

Algadir is insistent that poetry should only be subject to the critiques of literature, but the way he was arrested confirms the insistence of the apparatus to act against the interests of freedom of expression in the name of religious repression.

Gamal Eid, executive director of ANHRI stated: The members of the Hisba apparatus threaten the legal system and all the citizen's rights in the name of protecting the Islamic religion. The existence of this apparatus is an insult to Islam, depicting it as it does, as anti freedom of speech and anti freedom of expression.


28th May

Update: Kiss of Death...

CCTV is bad enough but with religious police watching too...

Saudi Arabia's religious police want to install surveillance cameras in shopping centres throughout the country in order to watch young people. We will place surveillance cameras in all shopping centres and public places to monitor the behaviour of young people, said General Abdel Aziz al-Hamin, chief of the committee for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice.

Our objective is to correct the mistakes made by some youths, in order to protect their moral integrity, said al-Hamin.


25th July

Confessional TV...

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Saudi man up for a flogging after confessing his sexual exploits on TV

A Saudi man has been arrested following an in-depth confession of his sexual exploits on a Lebanese talk show. He was arrested for publicising vice , police said

Abdul Jawad, an employee of Saudi Airlines, recounted to the Red Line TV show's audience explicit details about his sex life, which ultimately landed him in jail for violations of Saudi Arabian law.

While being interviewed on the talk show, Jawad described how he slept with a neighbor at the age of fourteen, and his use of the Bluetooth functionality of his cellphone to pick up women in Saudi Arabia, as they are forbidden to interact with men in public.

Jawad also shared with the audience a recipe for an aphrodisiac.

Red Line is a talk show on Lebanon's satellite TV channel LBC that addresses a variety of social and political issues. The show airs in other Arab countries, and is popular in Saudi Arabia.

English-language daily Arab News reported that about 100 people filed complaints to Saudi officials after Jawad's segment on Red Line was aired.

Under Saudi Arabia's strict Wahhabi interpretation of Sharia law, it is forbidden to speak publicly about what the authorities determine to be vice. Pre-marital sex is also prohibited under shariah law, but Jawad could only be convicted of engaging in pre-marital sex if he were to attest to it in a Saudi court.

According to Arab News, Jawad plans to file a lawsuit against the producers of Red Line, claiming his remarks were taken out of context.

The program presents anomalies and deviancy in society that are unacceptable and immoral and should be punished according to sharia, Ahmad Qasim Al-Ghamdi, Mecca head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the religious police, said.


5th August

Update: Redline Censors...

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Saudi office of LBC under threat over confessional TV episode

The Saudi offices of a Lebanon-based satellite station controlled by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal could face closure over a racy talk show featuring a man boasting about his sex life.

The local operations of the Saudi billionaire's broadcaster LBC could be shut down because of the offensive nature of the programme, Abdullah al-Othaim, a senior district judge in Jeddah said.

Jeddah investigators continued to examine evidence to see what charges would be filed against Saudi citizen Mazen Abdul-Jawad, whose discussion of his sex life on LBC's Bold Red Line in July led to his arrest on Friday.

Two other men who took part in the programme were also arrested, while a fourth fled to Morocco, local newspapers cited Saudi police as saying.

Abdul-Jawad's confessions, that he first had sex at 14 with a neighbour, used sex aids and liked to use his cellphone's Bluetooth function to try to pick up women, outraged Saudi conservatives.


18th August

Update: A Blue Line for Red Line...

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Saudi TV told tighten up on TV censorship

In the wake of the TV controversy when Saudi citizen Mazen Abdul-Jawad discussed his sex life on LBC's Bold Red Line , a Saudi ministry is clamping down.

Issuing a strong warning. Abdullah al-Jasser, undersecretary for media affairs at Saudi Arabia's Culture and Information Ministry, said: Every Saudi investor in satellite television channels has to be sensitive to patriotic and social responsibility. Managers of these channels should be selected for their integrity and responsibility, he said, adding that investors should not leave management to people who have orientations and ideas ... harmful to the kingdom and to Saudi investments.

What is being aired by these channels owned by Saudi citizens in terms of topics that violate the Islamic creed and public morals represents a serious offence to the kingdom and to every citizen. These channels (must) not be used as a bridge for hostile media campaigns that ... market Western ideas and beliefs.


8th October

Update: Lashings of Repression...

Saudi man gets 5 years and 1000 lashes for sexual boasts on TV

A Saudi man who boasted about his sexual exploits on television has been sentenced to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes, drawing worldwide attention to the conservative kingdom's highly repressive laws on personal morality.

Mazen Abdel-Jawad was convicted of publicising vice and confessing to crimes on a satellite television channel for describing his conquests on LBC TV's Bold Red Line talkshow. He bragged that he first had sex at the age of 14.

Abdel-Jawad was also told by a criminal court in Jeddah that he would not be allowed to travel abroad for five years after his release. His lawyer said he would appeal against the sentence.

The divorced airline employee was arrested in August by the religious police and charged after describing his sexual relationships and how he picked up women using Bluetooth mobile phone messaging. He was also shown on television with sex toys, condoms and lubricants in his red-themed bedroom and filmed cruising the streets of Jeddah looking for women.

The episode sent shock waves across Saudi Arabia. Many ordinary citizens reportedly filed petitions with the authorities after the programme was broadcast in mid-July, demanding that Abdul-Jawad be punished, even executed for moral corruption .

Three of his friends who appeared with him were sentenced to two years in jail and 300 lashes each.


26th October

Update: Flog First, Trump Up Charges Later...

Saudi flogs journalist for association with controversial TV programme

A woman journalist has been sentenced to 60 lashes by a Saudi Arabian court after a man appearing on the television chat show she worked on described his sex life.

Rozanna al-Yami said she was too frustrated and upset to appeal the sentence, which was handed down by a judge in Jiddah as a deterrence .

The show, Bold Red Line , caused huge controversy in the ultra-conservative Arab state when it was broadcast in July on the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation's satellite channel. It featured a man called Mazen Abdul-Jawad talking openly about his active sex life and displaying sex toys, which were blurred out by the producers.

Al-Yami said she worked on the series as a co-ordinator but had not been involved with the offending edition. She had understood that the judge had dropped charges against her, which included involvement in the preparation of the program and advertising it on the internet.

Her conviction, she added, seemed to rest on the question of whether LBC was properly licensed to operate in Saudi Arabia: I had nothing to do with Mazen Abdul-Jawad's show. The verdict was just because I cooperated with LBC, she said. I was not aware (that LBC was unlicenced) but in the end this is the verdict and I accept it.

The Saudi ministry of culture and information yesterday questioned the validity of the court proceedings. Spokesman Abdul-Rahman al-Hazza said al-Yami should have been tried before a court that specialised in media issues and that failing to do so was a violation of Saudi law. It is a precedent to try a journalist before a summary court for an issue that concerns the nature of his job, he said. LBC's Western-style entertainment programmes and talk shows have made it a popular channel in Saudi Arabia, and royal billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is a shareholder.


28th October

Update: Flogged Off...

Saudi King waives flogging for journalist associated with sexual confessions programme

The Saudi king has waived the lashing a court ordered against a woman for working at a Lebanese television channel that aired a sexual confessions programme.

He (King Abdullah) has asked the ministry of justice to drop the lashing against journalist Rozana al-Yami, information ministry spokesman Abdul Rahman al-Hazaa told AFP.

Hazaa said that the king has ordered the transfer of the cases to the ministry of information, referring to Yami's case and that of another female journalist, reportedly named Iman Rajab, who was convicted of working for the same controversial programme which caused a stir in the conservative kingdom.


17th November

Update: The Appeal of Good Sex Life...

Saudi justice has nothing to boast about

A Saudi man who boasted who was sentenced to five years in jail after boasting about his sex life on television has appealed his case.

Mazen Abdul Jawad, who was also ordered to receive 1,000 lashes after his appearance of the LBC show Bold Red Line last July, has appealed the convictions handed down by a criminal court on Sharia law-based charges relating to immoral behaviour.

Three friends who appeared on the show with him and who were given two-year terms have also made an appeal, Muhammad Amin Mirdad, the judge presiding over the case, said in comments published by Arab News.


13th February

Update: The Lost Appeal of Saudi Justice...

Man given extreme sentence for boasting about his sex life loses his appeal

A Saudi Arabia appeals court has upheld a sentence of five years in jail and 1,000 lashes for a man who boasted on TV of his sex life, reports say.

Mazen Abdul Jawad was convicted in October of immoral behaviour under the country's strict Islamic law code.

Sentences of two years in jail and 300 lashes were upheld for three friends of his who were also on the programme.

The men can appeal again to a higher court.


9th April

Update: Scary...

UK nurse says he was set up by Saudi religious police and held on charges of gay sex

Stephen Comiskey, a nurse, was threatened with beheading and thrown in a cell, the Sun reports. He was held on charges of homosexuality which is a capital offence in Saudi Arabia.

He says he was tricked by religious police who sent him a text message pretending to be a friend.

After his arrest, he was throttled until he signed a confession in Arabic and had his passport taken away. He spent six months in the country, unsure whether he would be killed.

Comiskey has now been allowed to fly home after diplomatic talks. His case was the subject of a media blackout until his release.

It has been suggested that Comiskey was targeted as revenge for the case of a gay Saudi prince who was jailed in Britain last year for murdering his servant.


29th June

Update: Cars for Women, Camels for Men...

Support for Saudi women flouting a religious ban on driving

Five women who dared to break Saudi women drivers ban by getting behind the wheel were arrested for a few hours and then released by the Kingdom's muttawas, or religious police, in the Red Sea coast city of Jeddah.

To gain their release, the women, along with their legal male guardians, had to sign a pledge declaring they would not drive again.

In what is being described as dramatic night time raids, police detained one of the women as she was driving in the city. She was reportedly surrounded by four police cars and taken into custody.

According to a conservative Saudi news website, her car was also confiscated. The other four were first accused of defying the ban and then arrested.

Galvanized by the recent revolutions in the Arab world, the organization Saudi Women for Driving, a coalition of leading Saudi women's rights activists, released a statement that read, The Saudi police decided to wait a few weeks before cracking down in the hope that international attention on the ban on women driving would subside.

Saudi women are banned from driving by fatwas, or religious edicts which are enforced by the religious police or muttawas.

It is the first time the muttawas cracked down on women drivers since women's rights campaigner and single mother Manal Al Sharif was arrested for driving in May this year and remained behind bars for nine days. Al Sharif is one of five organizers who set up the facebook group Women2Drive page, launched a nationwide campaign calling on all women across the country to drive on June 17. Dozens of women across the country hit the streets, some documenting their audacious act and posting their videos on YouTube.

Support from Hilary Clinton

Based on article from

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, has praised Saudi women fighting for the right to drive in their country as brave but said it was up to Saudi society to determine the way forward.

What these women are doing is brave and what they are seeking is right, Clinton said.

Clinton was commenting on the show of defiance displayed by women in the kingdom who are campaigning against a ban that prohibits women from driving in the kingdom.

Support from Ukraine

See  article from

Activists of Femen, a group of young women who have made a name for themselves with their topless demonstrations for feminist causes, decided to throw their support behind Saudi women who are not allowed to drive under the country's strict interpretation of Islamic law. Baring their breasts while covering their faces with black hijab, the Femen activists drove past the Saudi embassy chanting Cars for women, camels for men.


26th April

Update: Haircut Police...

Saudi religious police tasked with banned gay and tomboy students from entry to schools and colleges

Saudi Arabia is set to step up repression of gays and tomboys (masculine-oriented girls) by banning them from schools and universities, according to a media report.

The hated religious police will be responsible for enforcing the new restrictions. The Sharq daily reported:

Instructions have been issued to all public schools and universities to ban the entry of gays and tomboys and to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon, which has been promoted by some websites.

Students will be allowed to resume their studies if they can prove that they have stopped such practices .

Most children of guest workers and other foreigners in Saudi Arabia attend international private schools, which will not be covered by the ban.



Update: Fools...

Saudi religious leaders throw a few trivial insults at Twitter users

Link Here16th May 2013
Full story: Religious Police in Saudi...A law unto themselves

The head of Saudi Arabia's religious police has warned citizens against using Twitter, which is rising in popularity among Saudis.

Sheikh Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh made up a few nonsense claims and pronounced that anyone using social media sites - and especially Twitter - has lost this world and his afterlife .

The sheikh's comments echo those of the imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca in April who used his sermon - seen by millions on TV - to warn that Twitter was a threat to national unity, a BBC correspondent said.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, the kingdom's most senior Muslim cleric, had unimaginatively dismissed Twitter users as fools .

Saudi authorities have mooted moves that could inhibit Twitter users by linking their online accounts to their Saudi ID numbers.



Update: Saudi Religious Police Recommend...

the Sci-Fi novel H W J N by Ibraheem Abbas and Yasser Bahjatt

Link Here 3rd December 2013
Full story: Religious Police in Saudi...A law unto themselves
A top selling Saudi Arabian science fiction novel has been removed from book shops across the country.

The religious police have raided several bookshops selling the novel H W J N by Ibraheem Abbas and Yasser Bahjatt, demanding it'd be taken off the shelves. The book is a fantasy, sci-fi romance about a genie who falls in love with a human, and is a best-seller in Saudi Arabia.

It seems that authorities have accused the book of blasphemy, devil-worshiping, referencing jinn [genies] and leading teenage girls to experiment with Ouija boards .



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