A Saudi princess has launched a rare attack on the Gulf kingdom’s feared religious police, saying they are frightening people and targeting women.
Princess Basma bin Saud bin Abdul Aziz, a member of the ruling family, said the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice had been created long time ago to fight corruption and ensure discipline and good conduct, adding that it was inspired by a force created by late Muslim Caliph Omar bin Al Khattab, one of the companions of Prophet Mohammed (Peace Be Upon Him).
Quoted by Saudi newspapers, she said the force members in old Muslim days were deployed in markets and other public places to control corruption, bribery, monopoly, fraud and other malpractices.
“When it was first created in Saudi Arabia, the Commission’s goals were to ensure our society will have a decent and respectable life away from corruption, vice, bribery and other misdeeds,” she said.
“But it has now become a tool of social pressure, with women being its primary target…the Commission is now only preoccupied with women and their faces, gloves and gender mixing…its members are now involved in things that have led to bad consequences in our society, which has become a frightened society.”