Riyadh Police have arrested more than 800 men over the course of the past month, a spokesman told al-Hayat daily yesterday. They were arrested, he said, because they violated the ministry of interior’s instructions regarding clothes and appearance. The ministry have instructed the police force to follow and arrest men who do not conform to the conventional dress code. The main target of those arrests are young men who wear low waist jeans and afro hairstyle aka kadash.

Something to be proud of, huh?

50 thoughts on “Intrusiveness

  1. Saudi Youth should not dress indecently in public. They can wear jeans and t-shirts if they want but wearing low-waist tight jeans in unacceptable according to cultural norms of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi youth’s dressing is being influenced by television and movies, which should have a limit.

  2. Not only in Riyadh. Ive also heard stories of how Police are stopping students at the checkpoint outside the University here and telling them not to wear certain clothes, have ponytails or long hair [and the afro hairstyle too]

    • Racism in action in the part of the police. Having an afro probably means that the wearer is fairly proud about having some African heritage or likes to identify with those with African heritage. Given the Saudi social power structure, that’s apparently offensive.

  3. May Allah guide them. Maybe a class on how to dress would be better than arresting. In America there are some states and city laws that do the exact same thing Saudi does. This style of dropping the jeans is from the jahil gangsta hip hop style.

  4. إذا كان الأندروير ساتراً للعورة، أي أنه ليس شفّافاً أو مقطوعا فما وجه المخالفة في ذلك؟

    • هناك شيء اسمه مرؤة وأدب عام في مجتمع يعتز بقيمه وأخلاقه. وليس من اللائق أن تدخل بيت الله بسروالك الداخلي ينظر إليه من شاء ومن لم يشاء من المصلين.

      هل يمكنك أن تذهب إلى عملك في المكتب بهكذا لبس؟


  5. Zut! Zut! Zut! I wonder if there is extra concern because these styles are reminiscent of those of the pre-increased social conservatism of the 60’s and 70’s, even though most fashions go in a cycle.

    Not all low-waisted jeans lead to “unfortunate views” of underwear or flesh, and could be showing only as those low-crotch type pants with a long shirt over the waist.

    If one must impose codes in this manner a fine (which parents usually pay and don’t appreciate) rather than arrest would seem to make more sense.

    What do they do once they arrest them?

  6. MR, while some states have attempted to make laws regulating dress it usually overturned because dress is too a form of speech that is protected. In my home town in Tennessee (which is really conservative right-wing Republican) there was an effort to actually ban sagging pants. The problem is that it was wholly discriminatory, and in my opinion targeted to Blacks, the city council didn’t pass it (much to my surprise).

    Everyone has their own sense of style and dress as they feel and wear what they want. If you want a parallel this argument then just substitute “low-waisted jeans” with “hijab” and I’ll bet the reaction would be wildly different.

    Salman, I don’t disagree that tv and movies have an influence but at the same time I would think that students in KSA would have a good idea of what pushing the line would be. I wish there were pictures with this post but from what Ahmed has indicated this appears to be just a witch-hunt with the intent to stiffle individualism.

  7. If the police had any idea of what the women (young adult females and late teens) wear under their abayas they would not be able to arrest them for they’d be having heart attacks instead!

  8. Its official … we have no more problems in Saudi, all is well (except long hair, low waist jeans and underwear showing)
    sticking to “superficial” and “appearances” fixing is just too common, nothing new there.

  9. :)
    You know what!! it reminds me with the new women campaign to follow the Guardian!
    I believe in society respect, but not up to the extend of arresting people on the street!! I usually ask what sort of public education was giving to the public to respect others!
    the Intimidation won’t bring those young to the right, but will make them more anger and more violent!!
    always a worried behaviors by the authorities to bring those youth in order!! Is that the correct way!! I don’t think so..
    thanks Ahmed..

  10. I also hear from friends that guys wearing long shorts are also arrested. Anyway, the way I see it, it’s a bit too much. If the effort put on these arrests is directed to other more important matters we would live a better life. For example, instead of the incredible bureaucracy just to finish a procedure after a traffic accident!

    On the other hand, I understand why some people would be offended by these superficial personal choices but, like everything in the country, there is NO written law for anyone to arrest or to cut someone’s hair for these “criminal offenses”

  11. Saudi Arabia has been stuck between paradoxical and contrasting forces for too long. The ‘best’ ally of the USA in the Middle East and one of only three countries in the world to recognize the “government” of the Taliban. The only one allowing them an Embassy…The reason behind the US alliance – although humiliating – is understandable. They need protection as all the money spent on weapons and national defense has evaporated in the Royal family’s very deep pockets and were made in the first place with the intent of fostering fat bribes. The Taliban bit is a curious one. Why would the Saudi ‘government’ allow, endorse even, that over 20.000 of their citizens to go fight with these people, not to expel the Russians, like most Afghanis thought, but to expand their very twisted version of Islam to the strategically positioned and gas rich country just to start a campaign against them when they try to practice their staff back home?
    As a Muslim, a ‘Golfy’, I’ve joined the much delayed movement of stopping SA on its tracks. It is time we stop apologizing for our ‘leaders’.

  12. “The ministry have instructed the police force to follow and arrest men who do not conform to the conventional dress code”

    What is the dress code when one isn’t wearing the traditional thobe?

  13. In fact, such overstepped the bounds of decency and abusing themselves by their community

    The lesson is not ambiguity, not the problem in wearing dress pants or a lesson in behavior and outrageous behavior by some of these do not say all
    To review and draw attention shamefully, rallies and demonstrations and harassment of freedoms of others.

    This act is beautiful and a great step of our police, instead of my vision for their cars here and there to no avail or as escorts for members of the Commission.

      • سارة العمري /Sarah Al Omari
        –if this is Google Translate, thank you for making the effort to write in English which readers of this blog can read. Some tips for Google Translate:

        1) keep your sentence structure and vocabulary in Arabic very simple.

        2) translate back: copy the translation from Arabic to English. Translate from English to Arabic. Play with the 2 until both make the best sense possible.

        3) include both in your comment.

        If I may summarize what I understood: Sarah agrees with the actions of the police because these particular men were drawing attention to themselves with their appearance, and some men behave badly in public.

        سارة العمري
        — إذا كان هذا هو مترجم جوجل ، وأشكركم على الجهد المبذول لجعل الكتابة باللغة الإنكليزية التي قراء هذا بلوق يمكن قراءة. بعض النصائح لمجموعات ترجمة :

        1) ابق تركيب الجملة والمفردات العربية في غاية البساطة.

        2) ترجمة مرة أخرى : نسخة من الترجمة من العربية الى الانكليزية. ترجمة من الانكليزية الى العربية. لعب مع كل من 2 حتى جعل الشعور أفضل وجه ممكن.

        3) وتشمل على حد سواء في تعليقك.

        إذا جاز لي أن ألخص ما فهمت : سارة يتفق مع الإجراءات التي تتخذها الشرطة لان هؤلاء الرجال كانوا سيما لفت الانتباه إلى أنفسهم مع مظهرها ، وبعض الرجال يتصرفون بشكل سيء في الأماكن العامة.

  14. I agree with Fatima. Although what she talks about is not relevant to this topic, but she did mention the interesting topic of deep dirty politics Saudi Arabia is involved in and their friendship with the Americans. They have been allies for a long time and Americans do interfere with the local affairs of Saudi Arabia as if its their own country. Why do Saudis don’t have the right to talk about mistreatment of Saudis in US and Guantanamo Bay? Why do we have to keep quiet about our concerns and always consider theirs? It won’t be surprising if tomorrow CNN and Fox News begin humiliating Saudi Arabia for arresting indecently dressed youth.

  15. Isn’t this a poor allocation of police resources? For example if you go to Susie’s Big Adventure blog her teenage son (who is a Saudi) was robbed and roughed up recently. Maybe if there were more police diligence and enforcement such incidents would decrease rather than now being on the look-out for “those who do not conform to the dress code conventions.”

  16. American Bedu:

    You are correct.

    The labour of our gendarmes could surely be used more profitably to enforce laws against corruption, bribery, graft, and many forms of evil more deserving of police action than such nonsense.

    Such trivial slights against social custom are childish, I agree.

    Yet, the police should train their attention on the more serious crimes that exist.

  17. While I’m not a fan of laws on how to dress, period, I have a little bit of schadenfreude when I hear that men are being criticized and harassed for the way they dress. Usually women are taken to task far more heavily for their appearance.

    And no, I don’t just mean in Saudi Arabia. I’m American and live in America, and I’m pretty tired of following the American woman’s dress code. Legally I don’t have to follow it, of course, but socially I do.

    • Where I live all women have the legal right to go topless wherever and whenever they want. None of us do, and not just because of the weather. Dress codes are socially and legally mandated everywhere (we can’t go bottomless), but the more restrictive legal codes are problematic.

      Men with low cut pants and afros usually move beyond that style of their own accord–including Arab friends who have embarassing yesteryear photos. LOL :)

  18. I think all saudi men should wear thobes made out of black polyester, they should wear a black smaugh and black gloves and stockings and a niqab.
    That’ll teach ’em!

    • 100% agree. What would all these bloggers say if the police arrested some girls showing their underwear in public? I bet most of them would keep quite.

  19. I see a change of policy. This used to be the job for our famous religious police. It is shame that police are only interested in men’s dress code. Every where police is concerend with all aspects of civil behaviour from throwing garbage in the streets to harassing women. I feel sorry of the young generation in this magic kingdom.

  20. Although personally I don’t enjoy the look of men in hip huggers I don’t think that they should be arrested for wearing them. There will always be resistance to new thoughts, fashions, norms and the like. Pehaps 20 years from now we will wondering what happenned to the good old days of hip huggers.

  21. The outer appearance will have an affect on the inner – (heart). I don’t agree with the police arresting the teens- they should probably arrest the parents (just kiddin).
    Satellite TV is the main reason for the teens behavior so, who do we arrest for that?
    Anyway, like the Prophet (pbuh) said: “The Muslims will follow the disbelievers hand-span, by hand-span. If they were to crawl into a lizards hole, the Muslims will follow.”
    Peace ya’ll!

  22. UmmZayna made a very good point. People dress the way they are and their outer appearance has a lot to say about their inner personality. TV and movies can be blamed. The solution which might seem to be extreme but also an effective one at the same time is to control and regulate the media and prevent channels which have a negative influence on society. It’s better and will prevent arrests of youth.

  23. Salman:

    As I understand it, you seek to “prevent channels which have a negative influence on society”

    Does our nation not already do that?

    Moreover, I would note that, given the manner in which our society operates, the ones who would decide what information should be eliminated, would be our clerical establishment.

    Is it your view, therefore, that the clerical establishment of our country should have greater power to limit access to the internet, to DVDs, books, etc. than that power which they currently exercise?

    And, is it your belief that such an exercise of governmental power is justified because of the dangers posed to our society by low waist jeans and afro hairstyle aka kadash?

  24. The negative influence coming in our society is not from the books, but from movies and television. There should be a government body which should not include the religious clerics but professional psychologists/psychiatrists and media experts who can understand and estimate the influence of various programs broadcasted on Saudi television. Certain standards for programming should be set by the body which will be determined according to the culture of Saudi Arabia.

    Low waist jeans and afro hairstyle are not the only problem. The youth here has committed much more cultural and legal violations under the media influence which need to be controlled by the government.

  25. it definitely deserves to be criticized but some ppl have no idea what theyre talking about here .. like the person who said “Racism in action in the part of the police. Having an afro probably means that the wearer is fairly proud about having some African heritage or likes to identify with those with African heritage. Given the Saudi social power structure, that’s apparently offensive.”

    african pride has nothing to do with anything

  26. I know Riyadh very well and have been living in it to the point that I know Riyadh youth very well..The guys are getting deadly BORED..They “wanna” go over the edge with somebody and tease the BOSSES with this kind of show.It seems that the show have won needed attention .

  27. I know Riyadh very well and have been living in it to the point that I know Riyadh youth very well..The guys are getting deadly BORED..They “wanna” go over the edge with somebody and tease the BOSSES with this kind of show.It seems that the show have won needed attention .

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