(P1) Saudi Arabia has stripped its religious forces of their powers to arrest, urging them to act “kindly and gently” in enforcing Islamic rules.
(P2) Under changes approved by the Saudi cabinet on Wednesday, religious officers will no longer be allowed to detain people and instead must report violators to police or drug squad officers, the official Saudi Press Agency said.
(P4) “Neither the heads nor members of the Haia are to stop or arrest or chase people or ask for their IDs or follow them – that is considered the jurisdiction of the police or the drug unit,” the regulations say.
Subject of controversy
(P6) Formally known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, its members also patrol shops to make sure they are shuttered during time prayers.
(P7) Prior to the new regulations, officers were allowed to arrest people using alcohol or drugs and committing certain other offenses including witchcraft.
(P8) Their tactics have regularly been the subject of controversy, most recently in February when members were arrested for allegedly assaulting a young woman outside a Riyadh shopping mall, local media said at the time.
(P9) In 2013, religious policemen were arrested after their patrol car crashed into another vehicle during a chase that left two men dead.
VOCABULARY: stripped, detain, virtue, interpretation, segregation, shuttered, witchcraft, allegedly
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Do you think the religious police should be allowed to detain and arrest people? Why or why not?
- Are there any controversial issues in your country (or others if you’re from KSA)? If so, explain.
- Do you believe in witchcraft? Why or why not?
- If you are not from KSA, do you have religious police in your country? If so, can they arrest and detain people?
EXPRESSIONS or PHRASES:
What do the following expressions or phrases mean?
- Mutawa (P3)
- Carry out (P3)
- Haia (P4)
- Islamic law (P5)
- Subject of controversy (P8)