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Saudi woman stands up to religious police in Saudi mall

A Saudi woman walked around a mall in Saudi Arabia without covering her head, defying religious police.  Allegedly, she wore nail polish and lipstick, which the religious police appeared to give her problems for doing so, even telling her that she should not wear the cosmetics.  She told the religious police that their job "is to advise people and move on" and what she buys is "none of their business" because she is a free woman.

According to UK news Yahoo, the religious police are members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice who were telling her to get out of the mall.

She refused to leave and told the men in Islamic clothing that the government said there would be no persecution of women.  Therefore, what she did was none of their business, that they have no right to harass anyone and they needed to stop following her.  She even informed them that she was video taping them and the video would go up on Facebook and Twitter.

Since they did not leave her alone, someone got the attention of mall security.  She told mall security that she is free to walk around the mall as she please and then requested of mall security that they not let religious police follow her.

UK news Yahoo transcribed the video with a brief explanation of what the woman was referring to when speaking to the religious police in the video:

But she refuses to comply, saying: "I'm staying and I want to know what you're going to do about."

"It's none of your business if I wear nail polish," the unidentified woman, who is not seen on tape, is heard shouting at bearded men from the feared religious force.

"You are not in charge of me," she defiantly shouts back, referring to new constraints imposed earlier this year on the religious police banning them from harassing Saudi women over their behaviour and attire.

"The government has banned you from coming after us," she told the men, adding "you are only supposed to provide advice, and nothing more."

According to UK news, Saudi King Abdullah appointed Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh, a moderate, to head the religious police, hoping that it would ease the draconian restraints of the extremists.  Two weeks after his appointment, he banned volunteers from the commission, which enforces strict Islamic rules.  In April, he prohibited the religious police from harassing and threatening people.

According to the Saudi Gazette, what triggered the dispute was that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stopped her and said, "You don't see a strand of hair from other girls while you are showing off your manicure in a public venue… this is my duty to tell you this."

That was when she asked, "Why are you chasing me?" and used her phone to video tape the incident.

According to the Gazette, it was she who went the mall police and told them she did not trust the commission, fearing they would physically harm her when she walked out of the mall.  They attempted to persuade her to listen to the religious police telling her they are good men.  At that point she informed them she was recording everything and would publish it on the internet.

Her video of the harassment went viral after she posted it to Facebook and Twitter, with MEMRI TV adding it to their website and YouTube channel.  The video received 106,512 views on YouTube in two days.

About Mriana

Mriana is a humanist and the author of "A Source of Misery", who grew up in the Church of God, Anderson Indiana. After she became an adult, she joined the Episcopal Church, but later left the Church and became a humanist. She has two grown sons and raises cats. Mriana raised her sons in the Episcopal Church, but in their teen years, they left the Church and she soon followed. One of her sons became a "Tao Buddhist" and the other a None, creating his own world view. She enjoys writing, reading, science, philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. Mriana is also an animal lover, who cares for their welfare as living beings, who are part of the earth. She is a huge Star Trek fan in a little body.
  • Sitemanager

    Good for her for standing up to them!

  • Johnny Brainetree

    Wonder if Arab Spring is starting in Saudi Arabia too.

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