Many people in Saudi Arabia have probably heard the story of Ammena Al Maskeen, a Shiite 19-year-old female student at KSU who was attacked by the religious police in an awful incident. If you have not read/heard about this, here is the (short) story…
On April 27, 2006, Ameena was waiting near the gates of the females campus, when two men from the religious police attacked her and forced her into their car. She was taken to a nearby center of the religious police. They held her for several hours, and then sent her to something called the girls’ penitentiary. Later, her family arrived and took her home.
Rasid claims they have contacted the girl, and on their website they are reporting the story by her words. She says what happened to her was set up by a Sunni girl who pretended to be her best friend. That girl was cooperating with the religious police to plot a conspiracy against her, so they could come and take her. While in the car, the two men abused Ameena physically and verbally. She was locked in the bathroom of the religious police center, and she received many fake charges there, and later when she was sent to the the girls’ penitentiary.
Meanwhile, a member of Al Sahat said that Rasid are lying. He says that he called a member of the religious police who told him the following: Ammena has come to the campus with a young man, and when he tried to drop her off, the religious police arrested both of them, and took them to their nearest center. The girl was then sent to the the girls’ penitentiary, and the man to the police station. He added that the girl was treated “like any other girl that gets arrested by the religious police,” which I suppose means she was treated properly.
When I first read this story on Rasid, I did not want to post about it here because I wanted to make sure it was true. But after reading that thread on Al Sahat, I was convinced the story is true. Now, the question is: which version should I believe? Maybe Rasid have some bias against Wahhabis, just like Al Sahat have a bias against almost everybody other than Wahhabis. However, the Rasid version of the story is stronger, and makes much more sense to me. They have reported the full name of the girl and provided many details, while, on the other hand, the Al Sahat thread did not even name the member of the religious police who told the other version of the story.
History is not on the side of the religious police here. The past few years have witnessed many incidents on which the brutality and ruthlessness of their members was unforgettable, and some of these stories has even made it to the local press, breaking a taboo on publishing such stories in the past. Ameena’s story deserves to be on the front pages of newspapers, but I don’t think that would happen, because her story has a sectarian aspect and most newspapers will avoid getting into that area.
Ameena is now back at home and safe with her family in Saihat, a city in Qateef in the eastern province. She has told Rasid she does not want to comeback to Riyadh, even if she had to sacrifice her education.