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 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.


Syria rebels prepare to quit penultimate pocket of Ghouta

Egyptians prepare to vote with Sisi reelection guaranteed

Israel ministers welcome US appointment of 'friend' Bolton

Iran slams US sanctions over hacking scheme

Iraqi widow saved recruits from slaughter by IS

Policeman dead in bombing in Alexandria

Syrians in Manbij fear Turkey, bet on US

Quick victory unlikely in Egypt assault on IS

Sisi, Egypt's undisputed leader and 'father figure'

PKK to quit northwest Iraq after Turkish threat

Iraqi asylum seeker gets life sentence for London bombing

UK says Israeli sentencing of Palestinian teenage girl "emblematic"

Sarkozy vows to clear name in Libya probe

Syria announces second evacuation deal for rebel-held Eastern Ghouta.

Three dead after suspected IS gunman takes hostages in France

170,000 flee violence in Syria's Afrin

Norway proposes bill to ban full-face veils in education

Turkey says EU statements on Cyprus 'unacceptable'

Air strikes hit Ghouta despite rebel ceasefire effort

US approves $1 billion in Saudi defence contracts

Saudi to carry out nuclear power deal with or without US

In world first, flight to Israel crosses Saudi airspace

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007