Saudis Mock Morality Police For Arresting A Mascot
Saudi Arabia’s morality police are already known for harassing women while trying to enforce a strict version of sharia law that requires women to cover their hair and bans makeup. But one of the latest incidents allegedly involving the religious police was so absurd that even Saudis accustomed to the stern policies mocked it: They arrested a mascot.
Specifically, according to local reports, the morality police arrested a man for wearing a giant cartoon-like costume that depicted a woman showing some skin. Using the hashtag #TheMoralityPoliceArrestingADummy (
#الامر_بالمعروف_تعتقل_دميه), social media users across the country made fun of the arrest and circulated pictures of the alleged lawbreaker sitting in the back of a morality police car, still in costume, Vocativ discovered.
— أخبار عاجلة (@akhbar_3ajlah) February 8, 2016
The arrest took place last Thursday, when a man wore the getup for the opening ceremony of a branch of a candy store chain in Kharaj city near the capital Riyadh, the Saudi news website Sabq reported. According to Sabq, an unnamed source who works at the chain said the “dummy” was arrested for not complying with the sharia dress code. Hundreds of social media users saw it as a great opportunity to mock the morality police, with some photoshopping pictures of the giant costume to make it more conservative:
— سلمان بن عبدالعزيز ☄ (@_Salman92) February 7, 2016
Others took the incident seriously, and called for an end to the morality police. “It’s awful that it’s 2016 and these idiots still have any authority,” a Saudi user wrote. “Strip them of their power.”
A major concern for many was how the alleged incident made Saudi look to other nations. The morality police “is hurting us in front of the world,” someone wrote. “You made the world laughing at us, you animals,” another tweeted.
Translation: What a shame, what’s the different between them and ISIS?
The morality police, known formally as The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, is a religious entity responsible for ensuring Saudi citizens live according to a strict interpretation of Islamic law. That includes imposing strict dress codes, preventing the genders from mixing, banning alcohol and barring women from driving cars.