SAUDI ARABIA: RELIGIOUS POLICE GIVEN MORE POWERS TO STEP UP WAR ON SORCERY
March 27, 2012: Saudi Arabia has decided to bolster its religious police unit specialized in arresting magicians within an ongoing war on sorcery which is punishable by execution in the Gulf Kingdom.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the influential law enforcement authority in Saudi Arabia, reported that it had created a âfield unitâ charged with fighting sorcerers, who it described as âkey causers of religious and social instability in the country.â
The new unit is headed by sheikh Adel Al Muqbil, a prominent scholar in the Kingdom, and it includes several other well known scholars.
The Commissionâs president, Sheikh Abdul Latif Al Shaikh, ordered the creation of that unit which the statement said is designed to âactivate field action to fight sorcerers and charlatans in all parts of the Kingdom.â âThe unit has been given orders to immediately arrest sorcerers and charlatans and refer them to the specialized authorities to apply Godâs punishment on them and end their harmful deeds against Muslims,â it said.
The newspapers in the Kingdom said the Commission decided to start a nation-wide campaign against witchcraft following a surge in reported black magic cases, which have reached around 586 over the past few years.
The campaign, which will continue indefinitely, involve lectures, training courses, stronger coordination among all relevant authorities, exchange of information within the Kingdomâs regions and storming of suspected places. Several persons accused of witchcraft have been executed in Saudi Arabia in the past few years.
The Commission has not specified witchcraft offences in the Kingdom but there have been reports of cases involving all forms of black magic, including dowsing, exorcism, money cloning, fortune tellers, healers, bone-setters, makers of potions, herbalists, palmists, animal callers, alchemists, psychics, and empathy. (Sources: emirates247.com, 27/03/2012)