Over on the Sand Gets in my Eyes blog I found an excerpt and a link to this story from the Arab News in March of this year. It’s an interview with the head of the Saudi mutawwa, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, those bearded old creeps who hit women with sticks if their bangs are showing, among other things.
It’s an informative article and worth reading. The writer points out that the commission didn’t answer all the questions that were submitted (these questions appear in the article), but the commission did answer this fascinating question:
Q: What is the commission doing to catch sorcerers in Saudi cities. And what is their fate after they are caught? Could you tell us how many of them were caught this year and their locations? And what about the magic spells that are thrown into the Red Sea? How are these spells broken?
A: The commission plays a large role in capturing people who practice sorcery or delusions since these are vices which affect the faith of Muslims and cause harm to both nationals and expatriates. The commission has assigned centers in every city and town to be on the lookout for these men. As for their fate, they are arrested and then transferred to concerned authorities. The commission also has a role in breaking magic spells, which are found in the sea. We cooperate with divers in this aspect. After the spells are found, they are then broken using recitations of the Holy Qur’an. We do not use magic to break magic spells, as this is against the teachings of Islam as mentioned by the Supreme Ulema. But we use the Qur’an as did the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).