From Satanists desecrating Islam's holy book to journalists who publically criticize them, Saudi Arabia's religious police flexed their muscles on Sunday and cracked down hard with a sweep of arrests and lawsuits.
The religious police, otherwise known as the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, arrested a group of Satanists who put copies of the Quran in sewage openings and garbage bins to curry favor with the devil and ask for his help in facilitating their practices, according to exclusive footage obtained by Al Arabiya.
The committee, established in 1924, is currently training its officers to deal with sorcery, said Abdullah al-Jarbaa, General Manager of the Cases Division at the committee's General presidency.
"We set a plan in coordination with religious and academic institutions," he said. "The training will start in Riyadh then expand to all committee branches."
Committee officials arrested more than 2,000 sorcerers in different parts of the kingdom, mostly from African countries.
Meanwhile, Abdul-Mohsen al-Qafary, the committee's head of media and public relations, told Saudi press that the committee would go ahead with lawsuits, initially put on hold, against several writers who persisted in their criticism of the committee.
Journalists often criticize the religious police for their policies, which writers see as violation of the nation's law.
"Every institution has the right to sue anyone who slanders it or tarnishes the reputation of its employees," Qafary told Al Arabiya.
Qafary said the committee accepts constructive criticism and that this is the right of the press, but the criticism directed against it by certain writers had crossed the line and that's why they need to go to court.
"Those who hunt for mistakes for the sake of slander and without making sure of the information they have are not doing what's best for society. We're not saying that we don't make mistakes, but we welcome constructive suggestions."
Qafary denied allegations that the committee had threatened to "dig up dirt" on journalists if they don't stop their criticism.
"This is against our ethics and we haven’t summoned any journalists."
Qafary added that the committee is looking forward to holding a joint seminar and a workshop with journalists.
As for the committee's relationship with the country's youth, Qafary said they should view the committee in a positive light as they had taken steps towards making young Saudis appreciate the ethics the committee is propagating.
"The committee has a joint project with King Saud University to bridge the gap with youths in a way that serves the entire society," he added.
Among the duties of the committee, whose officers do fieldwork everywhere in the kingdom, is to make sure that unrelated men and women do not mingle, that stores close during prayer times and citizens do not consume alcohol or drugs.