Saudi Arabia Aims to Employ Female Religious Police
Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, head of Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said he hoped to implement a recruitment drive aimed at adding women to the force. The religious police, known as the mutawa, are tasked with preventing women from driving, enforcing modest dress codes, policing bans on public entertainment and making sure all businesses close for prayers five times a day. It is not clear if including women in the mutawa will soften rules on conservatism, but the move would greatly increase the role of women in public life.
An official from the National Society for Human Rights accused Iraq of deliberately mistreating Saudi prisoners. “[They are] treated differently from other Arab inmates,” he said. Additionally, Suhaila Zein al-Abidine Hammad, a founder of NSHR, noted the organization was concerned about the possible implementation of death sentences for Saudi nationals held in Iraq. Iraqi Justice Ministry spokesman Haider al-Saadi denied the charges saying, “These allegations are incorrect and baseless. We refuse them completely.” The two countries have had tense relations since Nouri al-Maliki‘s Shia-led government took power in Iraq.