First Published: 2007-08-07

 
Saudi religious police accused of beating pilgrims
 

Shiite news website reports Muttawa beat pilgrims with sticks after accusing them of being infidels in Mecca.

 

Middle East Online

Saudi officials said they had no information about such an incident

RIYADH - Saudi religious police beat a group of Iraqi pilgrims holding British and US citizenship in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, a Saudi Shiite news website and a Western source said Monday.

"There was a misunderstanding which led to a quarrel between a group of British pilgrims of Iraqi origin and members of the religious police in Mecca" on Sunday, a Western diplomat said, requesting anonymity.

Some of the pilgrims were held by members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, commonly known as Muttawa, for a few hours and released, he said.

Commission spokesman Ahmad al-Jardan refused to comment when approached.

But the Shiite news website rasid.net said the Muttawa beat the pilgrims with sticks after accusing them of being "infidels" as they circled the holy Kaaba stone at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site.

Some in the group, who hold British and United States passports and included women and children as well as sons of Iraqi politicians, were detained for up to 24 hours, said the website, an outlet used by members of the Shiite minority in Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia.

The website, which cited the Iraqi information centre in Washington, said some of the pilgrims were badly injured. It said they included the son of Iraqi parliamentarian Ridha Jawad Taqi.

Saudi officials said they had no information about such an incident.

Religious police who enforce a strict Islamic moral code in Saudi Arabia are increasingly being criticised by the public for perceived abuses.

The daily Arab News reported on Monday that a Nigerian convert to Islam was jailed in Riyadh after he helped a sick 63-year-old woman and was then accused by the religious police of immoral behaviour.

 

Obama admits 'no strategy yet' to fight IS

Libya's troubled interim government steps down

US supplies arms to Lebanon to fight jihadists

Over three million Syrian refugees have fled war

At Venice Film Festival, Iran filmmaker urges West to lift sanctions

US imposes new sanctions on Iran

Britain terror threat level raised to ‘severe’

Libya conflict takes its toll on migrants

UN chief lashes out at 'brutal' IS killings in Iraq

Israel counts losses and gains in Gaza: Heavy cost for 50 days of war

Saudi Crown Prince flies to France next week: Jihadist threat tops agenda

UN confirms capture of UN peacekeepers in Syria Golan

Islamic State executes dozens of Syria soldiers in new atrocity

'Jihad recruiters' arrested in Netherlands, Germany

Saudi Grand Mufti warns youth against ‘perverted’ calls for jihad

Neo-Ottomanism scores new victory in Turkey: From Ataturk to Erdogan

Fire rises up again from under ashes on Lebanon border

Vital aid arrives in war-battered Gaza

Lebanon seeks to tackle child marriage with new legislation

Hollande: Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorists

Egypt quizzes Morsi for 'giving security papers to Qatar'

Top Saudi envoys hold talks with Qatar emir

Obama's warfare doctrine to be tested in Syria

UN moves to impose sanctions on Libya militias

Mother of US hostage to leader of Islamic State: Please spare my son

Turkey ruling party officially approves Davutoglu as new PM

US spy agencies face difficult task in Syria

Saudi Arabia jails 18 militants on terror charges

Gazans breathe sigh of relief

Litany of horrors becomes regular fixture in jihadist-held Syria

Iraq forces mass for onslaught on jihadist siege of Amerli

Doha offers help to rebuild Gaza

Iran alters Arak heavy water reactor over Western worries

New Turkey PM leaves successor troubled legacy

US rules out coordination with Syria on targeting jihadists

Algeria president sacks Belkhadem

Calm reigns over Gaza amid celebrations

Palestinians ‘reach’ long-term Gaza truce with Israel

Barzani: Iran provided us with weapons

US to track jihadists in Syria with spy planes

Top Iran official in Saudi to repair strained ties

Drums of war are beating anew on Capitol Hill

Israel air raid in Gaza kills two Palestinians

Deadly bus tragedy in Egypt

Car bomb rips through Baghdad intersection