An Egyptian couple was surrounded by visitors to help them celebrate their wedding day and all seemed to be going well. But things changed when members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stepped in and stopped the event.
Apparently the wedding was stopped because the bride did not properly cover her face and occasionally the groom would hold her hand, breaking local traditions, according to Saudi Arabia’s religious police.
The religious police, known to most Saudis simply as the “Hai’a” or “the commission,” patrol Saudi’s streets looking for violations of Islamic law. They go into shopping malls and other public places in their short white robes, untrimmed beards and traditional Saudi headdress to enforce that law.
Saudi’s religious police make sure businesses close five times a day during prayer time, keep women separated from unrelated men and observe whether a whole host of other religious statutes are being followed according to the Wahhabi Islamic religion.
These Hai’a are a problem for Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, 89, who celebrates his eighth year on the throne, according to the Islamic calendar. Abdullah is trying to reform and modernize Saudi’s religious police.
The group also rounded up and arrested 42 Asian men and women for having a mixed gender birthday party, which is against Islamic regulations. Reportedly the birthday party was being held at the house of Bani Amro, but local residents informed the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and the party was raided. A total of 30 men and 12 women were arrested.
Another 30 people, including Westerners, were arrested in May this year at a night camp outside the capital city of Riyadh by members of the Commission.
Reportedly the people, from 11 nationalities, were having a mixed-gender party that included the consumption of alcohol and drugs, according to local newspapers.
A Sabq newspaper said that three men were found by the religious police to be having sex with women inside a tent and others were using drugs, according to information they received from a Commission member.
The unnamed member of the commission said “They were having drugs and alcoholic drinks and some of them were moving and dancing to strange music,” according to the newspaper.
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