Saudi King Orders: a Gentler Religious Police, Witchcraft and St. Valentine’s, Chopped Lamb Heads……….

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“A long, long time ago…….. On graduation day
You handed me your book …… I signed this way:

Roses are red, my love……  Violets are blue. 
Sugar is sweet, my love……. But not as sweet as you.

Roses are red, my love…….  Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet, my love……  But luck may
god bless you…..
Bobby Vinton

The newly appointed general president of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said Thursday that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah had ordered him and his fellow colleagues to be lenient when dealing with people and to show good will and respect to them. “The king gave me these clear orders when I went to greet him after my appointment,” he told local daily Al-Eqtisadiah in an interview. Al-Asheikh said King Abdullah advised him to always have a fear of Allah when tackling religious issues concerning the public and to treat citizens and foreigners with respect and leniency………….

So the Wahhabi religious cops (Commission for Protection of Vice) are ordered by the king to be respectful and lenient as they harass people for trying to, or pretending to, have fun. (Actually having fun is very hard in the Kingdom and that is why almost anyone who can do so flies, drives, swims, walks, rides a donkey, or hitches a ride out of the Wahhabi utopia). I am puzzled by this, and I have a few questions:

  • Why do they need an order from the king? Doesn’t the kingdom have rules and laws and by-laws regulating how people are to be treated by the regime and its secret police and enforcers? Like almost every other country outside North Korea?
  • And what about people who talk politics and vanish in the prison cells of the regime? When will the “king’s” mercy touch them? 
  • Does this also mean that people who dabble in sorcery and magic, as well as people who deal with them, will not have their heads chopped off in a public square just before the Friday lunch? 
  • Does this mean the religious cops will not entrap people into offering or buying magic and sorcery with the goal of getting them sentenced to have their heads chopped off in a public square just before the Friday lunch? Just before the spectators head back home for a lunch of lamb and rice? [I don’t think Saudis eat bacha or pacha (boiled spiced sheep’s head) like we do in the Gulf and Iraq and Iran].
  • Is all this, as I suspect, a ploy to open the door for the unthinkable, the legalization of red roses next February? Maybe on this St. Valentine’s Day red roses and heart-shaped balloons will be allowed in the shops. Maybe the religious cops (the Haia) will be encouraged by the king to buy red roses for each other, for their wives, for all their multiple wives, even the very first ones who may be long in the tooth. Anything is possible.