Saudi’s Religious Police Stripped… of Arresting Power

But… But how will they be able to combat the moral evils of children with Harry Potter books now?!

Saudi Arabia, the nation that totally knows the definition of “fun,” has recently taken steps to reform its controversial religious police force.  The religious police, tasked with enforcing and upping the nation’s morals, have had the power to arrest anyone caught using alcohol, drugs, or even if they were suspected of witchcraft.  That, however, has come to an end… to an extent.

Al Jazeera reports:

Under changes approved by the Saudi cabinet on Wednesday, religious officers will no longer be allowed to detain people and instead must report violators to police or drug squad officers, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

Officers of the Haia force, also known as the Mutawaa, must “carry out the duties of encouraging virtue and forbidding vice by advising kindly and gently” under the new rules, it reported.

“Neither the heads nor members of the Haia are to stop or arrest or chase people or ask for their IDs or follow them – that is considered the jurisdiction of the police or the drug unit,” the regulations say.

Basically, the religious police have been relegated to the duty of terrified suburban women when they see minorities in their neighborhood.  “He’s just… out there, jogging suspiciously!  Can you please send a squad car?”

Will the religious police stay in their newly relegated role in the gossip-circle?  Is this a step towards Saudi becoming a more open and tolerant society?  Are you reading this in a superhero cartoon narrator’s voice?  Tune in next week to find out!!!