Counter-Terrorism: Religious Police Sent After Al Qaeda

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June 6, 2006: The Saudi religious police (officially, the "Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vices"), not known for the liberality of their views, are being employed against radical Islamists. Apparently there are sufficient differences of opinion as to what constitutes "genuine" fundamentalism to allow the "Religious Police" to be used against the more extreme elements, particularly since one of their missions is the security of the already very conservative Wahabbi Saudi regime. The religious police are typically recruited from among poorly educated, strongly religious and self-righteous men who have few other employment prospects. Sort of a patronage job. The religious police are generally hated by most Saudis, but so are Islamic terrorists. This is especially the case since al Qaeda began setting off bombs in Saudi Arabia three years ago. In response to that, the government, which pays the generous salaries of most clerics in the kingdom, demanded that a sound theological case be made against al Qaeda. That wasn't terribly hard to do, since nearly all competent Islamic clerics admit that al Qaedas violence, especially when directed at fellow Moslems, is expressly forbidden by Islamic scripture.

So the Saudi government, which has been trying to placate both the clergy (who rather like the religious police) and most Saudis (who hate these "lifestyle cops"), has come up with a rather neat solution. Sic the religious cops after the murderous heretics (al Qaeda), and make everyone (except the terrorists) happy.

 


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