Saudi Arabia's notorious religious police intend to give Professor Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts, a run for his money. Thirty members of the Commission for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice have just completed a five-day course which will enable to them to fight black magic, identify sorcerers and even break their spells.
Needless to say, practicing magic is strictly prohibited in the deeply conservative kingdom, where those convicted of witchcraft and sorcery are executed.
From the UAE, commentator Sultan Al Qassemi quips:
Essential skills for the 21st century — Saudi religious cops trained to fight magic | Emirates 24|7 https://t.co/A06wNxej0q
— سلطان سعود القاسمي (@SultanAlQassemi) February 18, 2016
Nadim Rifai tweets the British novelist directly saying:
— Nadim Rifai (@NadimRifai) February 19, 2016
But Hassan Cha says training the religious police is a “twisted version of Harry Potter”:
Saudi religious cops trained to fight magic https://t.co/RaLaU06Hka the twisted version of Harry Potter's defense against the dark arts.
— Hassan Cha. (@c_ha93) February 8, 2016
Harry Potter aside, it seems that such training programmes have been ongoing for a while. One user on Facebook shares a post from 2013 for a similar workshop. In fact, combating sorcery is one of five main areas religious police should focus on in doing their work. The other four are: “preserving Islam, preventing blackmail, fighting human trafficking, and ensuring that no one disobeys the country’s rulers.”