Saudi in fresh crackdown on colourful female gowns

Saudi Arabia’s feared Islamic police mounted a fresh campaign against clothes shops in one of the Gulf Kingdom’s largest cities to stop them from selling colourful gowns to women, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice raided many shops in the western town of Taif and confiscated a large quantity of ornamented women’s gowns, Sabq online Arabic language daily said.

“The Commission members made dealers write a statement pledging not to sell these gowns again…many other deals had shut their shops and fled just before the Commission inspectors raided the market.”

Just before the end of 2010, a large force from the Commission stormed garments shops in the Saudi capital Riyadh and confiscated thousands of ornamented dresses and gowns, which also carry writings.

One dealer said members of the Commission, the most influential law enforcement authority in Saudi Arabia, raided his shop and seized at least 7,100 gowns worth nearly SR2.13 million. They also detained all his workers for one day and forced them to write statements.

The paper quoted Commission spokesman Turki Shaleel as saying those members raided the markets on orders from the Commission, adding they had instructions to seize any gown or similar items which do not meet the specifications outlined by the Commission and provided to dealers.

“We have warned them many times but some of them are not abiding by the rules…we have told them not to make or sell any gowns that are emblazoned or garnished with different colours,” he said.
 

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