An Inclusive Litany

3/15/02

Saudi Arabia's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Evil declared its intention to conduct round-the-clock patrols to prevent celebration of Valentine's Day. Citizens have even been cautioned against wearing the color red.

This is the same group, the "mutaween," that locked gates and prevented firemen in Mecca from rescuing schoolgirls from a burning building, all in order to keep the girls from being seen in public without their robes and scarves. Fifteen girls died in the ensuing stampede, and some of the survivors were subsequently beaten by members of the religious police. Men who tried to help the girls were warned that "it is sinful to approach them."

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