Saudi Arabia's Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, or religious police, arrested a female mascot at the opening of a sweet shop in the capital Riyadh because it wasn't wearing the Islamic attire enforced on women in the conservative kingdom. What was worse, was that the mascot was actually a man, pretending to be a woman, who was not covered, and who was making inappropriate gestures with a male mascot which was accompanying it.
On Twitter, netizens laughed and joked at the incident, complaining about the eroding freedoms left for people. Many could not even bring themselves to believe that this incident actually took place.
Najwa Hammoud tweets in disbelief:
— Najwa Hammoud (@najwa_hammoud) February 7, 2016
They arrested a mascot???
Migrant Soul is also confused:
#الامر_بالمعروف_تعتقل_دميه here's the tag btw I still can't tell if it's real or satire😭
— †♀Daنa (@migrantsoul) February 7, 2016
Is it for real? Yes, it is. The religious police actually arrested a mascot and reactions to this arrest can be found under the hashtag #الامر_بالمعروف_تعتقل_دمية which translates to #Vice_Police-Arrest_a_Mascot.
Naifco, who has 216K followers on Twitter, shares this circular from the Vice Police with more juicy details about the incident:
بيان من الهيئة حول ما أثير في هاشتاق#الامر_بالمعروف_تعتقل_دميه
يؤكد أن حصول تميُّع بحركات غير مقبولة. pic.twitter.com/4CiJmsE96e
— نايفكو (@naifco) February 7, 2016
On this day, we received a number of reports about two dolls, one a man and the other a woman, which were making unacceptable gestures in front of Sanabil Al Salam shop and their presence attracted a huge crowd on the King Abdulla road. We went to the said location and witnessed the two dolls doing what the complaints said. We found a man in the female mascot and after contacting the superintendent of the Kharj area, we spoke to the man (in the doll) and made him and his supervisor write a statement that they will not repeat this again and we reminded them about Allah and that what they did was pretending to be women and that is against sharia (Islamic law). They expressed remorse and asked them to accompany us to the station, to complete the formalities.
For many, the incident was an opportunity to complain about dwindling rights in the ultra-religious kingdom. Aziz Alqenaei laments:
حبس المثقفين،حقوق المرأة، الجلد والرجم، تطبيق الشريعة، اعتقال دمية متبرجة،، من المؤلم أن تكون قضايا المسلم قضايا انتهى منها الإنسان المتحضر
— Aziz Alqenaei (@Azizalqenaei) February 7, 2016
The arrest of intellectuals; women's rights; flogging and stoning; implementation of Sharia law; and now the arrest of a mascot for not complying with Islamic attire. It is painful that Muslim's causes are now issues that the civilised world has moved away from
Jalal AlBaqshi adds:
من يقرأ السجل الحافل بالتجاوزات اللا إنسانية، هل نستغرب من اعتقال دمية؟!
أبداً.. لا عجب !
— جلال البقشي (@JalAlBaqshi) February 7, 2016
Whoever reads about the increasing record of inhumane trespasses will still be surprised that a mascot has been arrested? Never. We are not surprised.
And from Kuwait, writer Dalaa Almoufti warns:
— دلع المفتي (@dalaaalmoufti) February 7, 2016
Wait for the news in newspapers around the world and in foreign satire shows
Would you blame anyone for carrying the story?