So few days ago in Dammam some members of the religious police somehow got the impression that they could storm a women’s public restroom on the courniche to arrest someone. They went in and moments later emerged dragging a girl who was crying, screaming and begging them to leave her alone. She tried to run away but fell on the ground. The Haya’a men apparently thought it was okay to hit and kick her, so they did that in the street while people were watching, then they carried her and threw her in the back of their jeep.

Al-Hayat daily, who published the story on Monday, said they tried to contact Haya’a offices and spokesmen in Dammam and Riyadh for comments but none of them returned the calls or text messages. Probably we were overoptimistic when we hoped that the new head of the religious police would keep his men under control. Probably.

UPDATE 23/12/09: According to al-Watan daily, the girl has been released. The newspaper quoted security sources who said the girl was arrested based on the suspicion of a khulwa, while the boy who allegedly was with her managed to escape. The haya’a in the EP declined to comment on the case. The police said they received the case and they are searching for the boy.

Commission is Hiring

Some people think they are doing good things. Some people think they are spreading horror around the city. What do they think? They think they are understaffed. According to Saudi Gazette, the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice aka Hai’a aka the religious police aka Mutaween (these guys have many names) in Riyadh has been given the go-ahead to increase the number of its staff. The plan to increase the staff include employing “temps” and “freelancers” after they receive what the Commission spokesman Abdul Mohsen Al-Ghafari described as intensive training. But wait, I thought they don’t hire freelancers anymore. Am I missing something here? Well, I don’t know. I shall ask you, however, to welcome the new recruits and wish them uneventful careers, free of harassing people and invading their privacy.