Saudi woman beats up religious cop

A Saudi woman whose male friend collapsed on being questioned by a member of the notorious morality police (the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice) snapped, and laid a beating on the religious cop. The cop went to hospital with bruises, the woman faces prison and lashings.
According to the Saudi daily Okaz, the woman then allegedly laid into the religious policeman, punching him repeatedly, and leaving him to be taken to the hospital with bruises across his body and face.

"To see resistance from a woman means a lot," Wajiha Al-Huwaidar, a Saudi women's rights activist, told The Media Line news agency. "People are fed up with these religious police, and now they have to pay the price for the humiliation they put people through for years and years. This is just the beginning and there will be more resistance."

"The media and the Internet have given people a lot of power and the freedom to express their anger," she said. "The Hai'a are like a militia, but now whenever they do something it's all over the Internet. This gives them a horrible reputation and gives people power to react."

Saudi woman beats up virtue cop (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)


  1. I’m conflicted.

    Part of me wants to cheer because this brave woman stood up for herself and fought back against religious tyranny.

    Part of me wants to cry; because I can only imagine what this oppressive regime is going to do to her now as punishment for her courageous act of defiance. Authoritarians rarely take kindly to those who resist their authority; especially when they’re convinced that they are in the right and that God is on their side.

    1. I fully agree, but is it not better to start resisting than to cower?
      It’s a tough one. To give in is to help protect yourself and your family, but to resist is to help protect all of your descendents.
      Truly she has showed bravery.

  2. Your petro dollars at work. We could just vote with our feet on religious oppression in Saudi Arabia ( where, among other endearing customs, it is a capital crime to give up being a muslim) but damn thats our gas pedal foot we’re talking about isn’t it? Oh well, forget I mentioned it.

  3. Keep in mind that a “religious police” patrol in Saudi Arabia is quite often a couple of older dudes in traditional garb who walk around armed only with thin sticks. And they’re obnoxious as hell with those sticks: they’ll use them to hit anything which offends their “religious” sensibility.

    Restaurant continuing to serve during prayers? They’ll whale on the steel shutters.

    A woman showing too much ankle on the street? That’s a rap on the leg (or a stern word to the male relative accompanying her).

    And so on.

    For these stick-wielding puritanical misogynists to get righteously beat up by a woman is … fitting.

    But yeah, the Saudi ‘justice’ system is going to go after this poor woman with a very public vengeance. These are the same bronze-age barbarians who sentenced a visiting TV host to death, for witchcraft.

  4. Idea:

    You know the walk-a-thon? Where you sign up to donate X dollars for every mile some person walks in support of some cause? Let’s apply the same concept here. We start a fund and you sign up to gift this woman X dollars for every lash she gets. The more the government punishes her, the more the sane people of the world reward her for her awesomeness.

    1. Seriously, can someone who knows how to set up donation funds set up a donation fund? I will totally give money.

    2. Dave, that’s the best idea yet. Start it up, spread it on everything from Facebook to 4Chan. This woman deserves a prize, or at least a well-funded cause in her honor.

  5. “We could just vote with our feet on religious oppression in Saudi Arabia ( where, among other endearing customs, it is a capital crime to give up being a muslim) but damn thats our gas pedal foot we’re talking about isn’t it? Oh well, forget I mentioned it.”

    If by “we” you mean the United States, the US actually gets only 12% of its foreign oil from Saudi Arabia, with the EU and China the far larger buyers. If we were able to wave the magic wand you seem to think we have and eliminate all dependence on Saudi oil tomorrow (as opposed to a couple decades from now, which is actually the optimistic scenario), the royal family would still have a plethora of rich customers who’d be more than happy to look the other way while they kept financing the insane Wahabbism that this “cop” represents and enforces. You think the power elite of China gives a shit about the rights of Saudi women?

    1. Aye yay yay. There are American military bases in Saudi. As such, Saudi is yet another U.S. colony by de facto status. It’s very offensive to the locals that there is ANY American military presence in Saudi – which partially fuels the hatred of the dominant Wahabi religious elite in Saudi – who were an extremist sect of illiterate thugs made “King” by the British colonials upon the discovery of oil many decades ago. Since Eisenhower’s Big Oil imperial policies, Uncle Sam owned most of Saudi oil until it was fully nationalized about 20-30 years ago. When the former Saudi King Faisal tried to stand up to American dictates in the early ’70s via the oil embargo, the C.I.A. took him out via his nephew! The U.S. is notorious for often dictating how Saudi votes in the OPEC conferences regarding daily oil quotas and barrel prices. One can NOT ignore the Anglo-American intervention, dominance, and “divide and conquer” rule and imperialist strategies over the former historic Arabia. Again, ironically it was the Anglo-American colonials who put these ignorant, sexist, tyrannical religious extremists to power to begin with!

      The other commenters were RIGHT in pointing out that it’s hypocritical for the U.S. to do “business as usual” with gross human rights’ violators. And may I add: especially with human rights’ violators such as countries like China.

      That said, I’m proud of this Saudi women’s act of resistance against religious and misogynistic tyranny – however, as others have already duly noted: she will be severely beaten and punished by the authorities for her act of resistance.

      Other Saudi women have staged a few public acts of resistance in the last 20 years or so in the form of street protests – only to find most of themselves shot dead – which proved a good deterrent to further PUBLIC acts of resistance. The right to protest is not instituted and respected by most governments in the Middle East.

      The Saudi MEN have to join the feminist fight to end this misogynistic religious tyranny – which may never happen as long as the Wahabi extremist sect remains in power – let alone, as long as ANY patriarchal religion remains the “law” of the land. Unfortunately, ‘secular’ remains a taboo word in most of the Middle East. Many peoples in the M.E. simply do not “get” not subscribing to one of the patriarchal Abrahamic faiths. In “liberal” Lebanon, they voted in the late ’90s for the right to have civil secular marriages… and ALL of the religious sects in Lebanon, whether Christian or Muslim rejected it. People have to fly to Greece to have a civil secular wedding. So, shit be fucked, ya’ll!

      Religion is a major bummer in general. How many wars would never have happened without the advent of religion? Sorry for the tangent, everybody.


      1. Manooshi, what US military bases are you referring to? The only remaining US base I can find in Saudi Arabia is a joint training mission base out in the mountains (USMTM). Yet you used “bases”, plural. Are you thinking of PSAB, which we no longer use?

        And how, exactly, does having a military base in a foreign country make it a colony “de facto”? Does this mean the US and Britain have joint-control of Germany? How would NATO even factor into this?

    2. While the US only gets a small amount of its oil from Saudi Arabia, oil is an easily transferable commodity. So buying any oil helps the Saudis out.

  6. There are few two-word phrases that denote a concept as abhorrent as “religious police”. It’s up there with “child molester” and a few others.

    Pretty much any sentence that contains those two words is guaranteed to be profoundly depressing … unless it’s something like “‘The last surviving member of the religious police was dragged from his vehicle and beaten to death by the enraged mob.”

  7. I said it once already today, but this is a damn fine reason to do your best (!) to boycott petroleum. Norway aside, the countries that benefit are not ones I want to fund.

    Fuck yes for defiance; so sad that irl stories don’t always have happy endings. But every move in the right directions gets us closer.

  8. I located her page on youtube.

    I am trying to contact her.
    It may be difficult to get them funds. They even have laws about women and banking.

    The American Community Services (ACS) in Riyadh helps women in Saudi prisons. The women are there usually because they have been raped and impregnated by their employers. Feel free to contact me.

    One of the things I do is boycott Baskin-Robbins ice cream. I tried to get a glass of water in a Baskin-Robbins store in Riyadh. They would not serve me because I was a woman.

  9. I don’t know how people can give such wrong information. The US has not based troops in, nor performed military operations out of Saudi Arabia since 2004. Google is an amazing thing: try “United States Withdrawal from Saudi Arabia”.

  10. So I’m wondering… Does the family of the religious police officer have to honor kill him now for getting is ass whooped by a chick?

  11. My cousin worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia for many years.

    Once while in a shop a religious cop approached her and said loudly “Cover your hair!” to which she replied “Cover your arse!”.

    Then she left the premises (and the country), probably for the last time. But she got away with it.

    Different story: A doctor I know was in Afghanistan working for medicin sans frontier when the Taliban were in charge and got involved in a late night drinks party for westerners. Because a doctor was present one of the revellers decided that tonight was the night to get their nipples pierced.

    So the piercing happened but word got out to the religious police and both participants had to leave the country in a hurry.

  12. I hate to sound paranoid, but when I originally read this story I simply assumed that the assault was something that the religious police cooked up in order to prosecute her.

    Anyone want to convince me that I’m wrong?

  13. It’s always inspiring to hear about oppressed people rebelling against evil systems of oppression.

    I just wish people cared more.

  14. Hools Verne: Yeah, few misogynists are going to cook up a story that starts out “Well, I got beaten up by a girl.”

  15. @sapere_aude: We’re proud Americans. We will strongly support oppressive, medieval regimes like Saudi Arabia and China, instead of putting pressure on them to treat their citizens fairly, because we enjoy kissing the asses of those who sell us affordable oil and cheap plastic crap.

    But we won’t cut Cuba the same slack because we’re still pissed that they took land away from American businesses 50 years ago.

    Hey, we have our values too.

    1. bbbaldie, what about the sanctions we have against China *right now*?

      Also, while I understand that human rights abuses are serious, I don’t think it’s worth jeopardizing our current relationship with China, where they’re actually *helping us* deal with countries like Iran and North Korea. Countries that want to toss bombs…but no, go ahead and keep blaming it on imports…it’s not like they own the largest chunk of our debt or anything.

      1. Wait a second. I don’t know about Iran, but China is the reason Kim Jong-Il’s regime doesn’t run out of weapons, food, and fuel. China basically sustains the North Korean dictatorship and opposes sanctions against it… how exactly are they helping?

    2. @bbbaldie: If you’re looking for logical consistency in American foreign policy you’re going to be disappointed every time. That’s because our foreign policy is not based on a consistent set of principles; but on a hodgepodge of political, economic, and strategic considerations.

      I’m no fan of our Cuba policy. It’s misguided and counterproductive. But the anti-Castro lobby in the U.S. (a blend of Cuban exiles and ideological cold warriors) has too much political influence; and they continue to block any attempt at change.

      There are four basic “schools” of thought in American foreign policy: realist, idealist, liberal, and neoconservative. The U.S. has never fully embraced or rejected any one of these. Our foreign policy is the product of a perpetual four-way tug-of-war between these ideologies. Realists don’t care about human rights, and only want us to pursue our national interests. They also emphasize the importance of recognizing the limits of what is possible to accomplish, and of weighing the potential benefits of an action against its likely costs and risks. Idealists are the polar opposite of realists, believing that we must be willing to sacrifice our national interests in order to promote human rights. Idealists are the preachers of the foreign policy world: big on rhetoric, short on practical solutions. Liberals believe that the best way to promote human rights worldwide is through the application of “carrots”: diplomacy, international law, trade, and economic development (globalization). Neocons believe that the best way to promote human rights worldwide is through the application of “sticks”: threats, bullying, sanctions, and (if necessary) military force. The U.S. approach to human rights over the years has been: “All of the Above, as Inconsistently as Possible”.

      Personally, I’m a pragmatic liberal. I believe that the best way to promote human rights is through the use of “carrots”; but I recognize that the realists make some valid points about the importance of realizing one’s own limits and of weighing the benefits of an action against its costs and risks. Not even the United States can force other countries to respect human rights. The best we can do is to set a good example, and to try to “nudge” other countries in the right direction through the use of diplomacy, trade, development, etc.

      It is fairly well established that, once a country reaches a certain level of economic development, its political system tends to liberalize, and the human rights situation begins to improve. So, I think we’re taking the right approach with China, by encouraging its economic development through trade while still pressing it on human rights issues. We ought to be taking that same approach with Cuba. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia is different because it gets its wealth from oil, and oil appears to be poison to political development. Countries that get most of their wealth from oil revenue can develop economically without ever liberalizing their political system. Unfortunately, I don’t have a solution for the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. But I find it very distasteful that the United States is so supportive of such an oppressive regime, and appears to be turning a blind eye to its human rights abuses.

  16. Every woman in Saudi Arabia should be issued a genuine Louisville Slugger and a pair of steel-toed shoes. Watch what happens. See how her male “friend” reacted when faced with trouble? That’s what the rest of ’em will do, too. Go get ’em, girls!

  17. “It is fairly well established that, once a country reaches a certain level of economic development, its political system tends to liberalize, and the human rights situation begins to improve.”

    I worry you may have the cause-and-effect backwards: it could be that, until a country begins to become more free politically, it cannot develop economically beyond a certain point. That would mean that not only is freedom not inevitable, but that its absence would inhibit materials wealth as well.

    1. The direction of cause and effect has been debated back and forth among political scientists for decades now; and it’s pretty clear that there is a feedback relationship, where development fosters liberalization and liberalization fosters greater development. However, the prevailing view is that a certain level of economic development is necessary in order for political liberalization to have any real chance of working, and that once a liberal democracy reaches a certain level of development (specifically, a per capita national income of about $6,000) there is virtually no chance that it will lapse back into authoritarianism. So, while development alone will not guarantee liberalization, and lack of development alone will not doom liberalization, liberalization has a much better chance of success in a more developed country than in a less developed country. (Unless the country in question gets most of its revenue from oil exports; in which case, liberalization is pretty much doomed.)

  18. You go girl !!!!! Got my RESPECT !! one giant of a step for all ARAB woman and people of all races that have been treated BADLY or unfairly by the “Mutawahs”……..

  19. After a preliminary search and reading all the comments here I still don’t know the name of my newest hero.

    I’m almost certain things have not and will not go well for her but I hope she regrets nothing.

    Different nationality but a brother in arms – remember Muntadhar al-Zaidi

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