50 lashes for a Saudi woman – that’s the sentence that was upheld for the woman’s affront of the Mutaween – Islamic religious police – who are tasked with enforcing Sharia law in Muslim-majority countries. The woman allegedly insulted the “morality police,” as they have become colloquially known, raising her voice and calling the Saudi morality cops “liars.”
Reports TheSpreadIt.com: “A Saudi Arabian woman has been sentenced to one month in prison and 50 lashes after two judges found her guilty of cussing at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Proving that ‘gender apartheid’ is very real in Saudi Arabia, this week, an unnamed woman learned that she lost her appeal. The businesswoman was sentenced by a male judge from the district court in Jeddah to 30 days in prison and 50 lashes for insulting the morality police.”
The woman, a café owner, said that police entered her restaurant because of immigration concerns among the individuals that the woman employed. The woman said there were no legal breaches, and called the police “liars.” Her employees reportedly fled the shop when the police approached.
Morality police officers can regularly be seen in Saudi Arabia patrolling common areas. The 3,500-strong faction of males enforce such things as dress codes, dietary laws, sale of contraband, store closings in conjunction with prayer times, evidence of homosexual behavior or prostitution and enforcement that no other religious groups attempt to proselytize.
Their actions have come under harsh criticism, both in western countries and among their own citizens.
In 2012, Saudi Arabia’s ruler King Abdullah sacked the head of the religious police after a number of controversies, including footage of officers harassing families in a shopping mall surfaced online and went viral.
Last month, a Jeddah criminal court sentenced two Saudi women to 20 lashes and 10 days in jail for exchanging insults via text and ‘WhatsApp’ messages.
Heavy-handed and partial treatment by the morality police, a group in place in the Saudi kingdom since 1926, continue to chew away at relations between Saudi citizens and their official ruling body.