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The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice - Part 1/2

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Uploaded on Jan 24, 2009

The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice

http://www.hesbah.gov.sa/

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (abbreviated CPVPV; هيئه الأمر بالمعروف و النهي عن المنكر ) is the name of the Saudi government "religious police" or mutaween ( or Muttawa). The Muttawa are related to a branch of the government Ministry of Islamic Affairs and operate as part of the Islamic Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

Religious practices are monitored by the Hayat al-Amr bil Maruf wa Nahi an al-Munkar, the Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV). The CPVPV is thought to have been formed in 1927 when King Abdul al-Aziz Ibn Saud captured Mecca. During the administrative reorganisation of the state during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul al-Aziz Ibn Saud, the CPVPV became accountable to the Council of Ministers. Members of the CPVPV are responsible for ensuring strict adherence to established codes of conduct and are required to have a good knowledge of Shariah law.

Its approximately 3,500 members, and many more volunteers, patrol the streets enforcing dress codes, strict separation of men and women, salah (prayer) by Muslims during prayer times, and other behavior it believes to be commanded by Islam.

The religious police in Saudi Arabia are employed in direct order of command of King Abdullah. They are tasked with enforcing Sharia as defined in Saudi Arabia. In addition to having the power to arrest anyone engaged in homosexual acts, prostitution, fornication, or proselytizing of non-Muslim religions, they can also arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing, enforce Islamic dress-codes, Muslim dietary laws (such as the prohibition from eating pork) and store closures during the prayer time. They prohibit the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages and seize banned consumer products and media regarded as un-Islamic (such as CDs/DVDs of various Western musical groups, television shows and film). They also actively prevent the religious practices of other religions within Saudi Arabia.

Saudi mutaween are often accompanied by the regular police, but also patrol without police escort.

From a pamphlet provided by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Britain it stated:

"21:Q: Why is it that Saudi Arabia does not allow the followers of other religions the freedom to practice their faiths in Saudi Arabia?

A: Anyone in Saudi Arabia is entitled to his own beliefs and practices, But Saudi Arabia cannot allow the public practice of any religion which contradicts Islam. Saudi Arabia is a special place: it is the cradle of Islam and the Prophet Mohamed declared it a preserve of Islam."

The Saudi Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has in fact offered its assistance to those Arab countries that want to promote similar initiatives.

So far the offer has been taken up only in Kuwait where a bill has been tabled in parliament - May Allah Aid them.

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