A YouTube video of a young Saudi woman yelling at officers from the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), also known as the “muttaween” in a shopping mall in Saudi Arabia has gained a lot of attention on social media forums.
The young woman appears to have been stopped by the religious police in a mall in Riyadh for wearing nail polish, lipstick and for a few strands of hair being visible under veil and then tapes the encounter after being told to leave the mall.
“I’ll show you who is going to leave the mall,” the lady shouts at the religious vice squad.
“It’s none of your business if I wear nail polish,” the unidentified woman, who is not seen on tape, is heard shouting at the men from the feared religious police force.
“You are not in charge of me,” she shouts back, referring to new constraints imposed earlier this year on the religious police banning them from harassing Saudi women for their attire.
“The government has banned you from coming after us,” she tells the men, adding, “you are only supposed to provide advice and nothing more.”
The young woman then warns the “muttaween” that she is filming the whole seen with her phone camera
A few moments later, she calls the police to complain of “harrassment” by the vice squad. The police try to calm everyone down and contain the situation.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice is the “religious police” employed by the Saudi government to enforce Sharia law in the kingdom.
Its approximately 3,500 members, and many more volunteers, patrol the streets enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, prayers by Muslims during prayer times, and other Islamic edicts.
They are known for their beards and loose-fitting red headscarves and are armed with thin wooden canes.
In January, King Abdullah appointed a moderate to head the religious police raising hopes that a more lenient force would ease strict social constraints in the country.
Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh banned volunteers from serving in the commission which enforces the kingdom’s strict Islamic rules.
In April he went further when he prohibited the religious police from “harassing people” and threatened “decisive measures against violators.”