RealNews

Saudi Enforcers of Religious Rules Feared

Word that authorities were coming spread through Riyadh’s rundown, busy Batha market. Merchants hastily dropped their shutters. Shoppers hid, some ran, some were caught. It wasn’t a narcotics bust or one of the government’s widely publicized raids on suspected terrorists. This was a sweep by the muttawas, or religious police, rounding up Muslim men — Saudis and foreigners alike — and forcing them to go to the mosque at prayer time. The muttawas, backed by the Saudi government, say they are simply working for Islam. But some see them as symbols of intolerance that can breed extremism, and their methods and philosophy are coming under scrutiny as Saudis confront terrorism at home. Full Story

OODA Analyst

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