A representative of Saudi Arabia's "Orwellian" Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Sheikh Motlab al Nabet, has announced that a proposal to make it law that women with "sexy eyes" must cover them in public is being considered. The Daily Beast
reports that Nabet said:
“The men of the committee will interfere to force women to cover their eyes, especially the tempting ones...[We] have the right to do so.”
Already, women in Saudi Arabia are required by law to wear a long black robe called "abaya." The "abaya" covers up practically every part of a woman's body from feet to hair. A little slit-like space is left at the eyes to allow the woman see when she goes in public. Saudi women who dare appear in public without the "abaya" may be punished with fines and public flogging.
But it seems now that even this little necessary allowance for vision is offensive to the pious men of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. According to Daily Mail
, the suggestion that women should cover their eyes too in public came after a pious member of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice fell to the wiles of a woman with "sexy eyes" as he walked innocently down a street. According to the story, when the man's eyes strayed in the direction of alluring female eyes, the husband took offense. A fight followed in which the man with straying eyes was stabbed twice in the hand.
The Saudi Arabian Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, founded in 1940, is the morals watchdog of Saudi Arabian society. Its job is to ensure that society keeps to the strict rules of morality according to Koranic laws. According to NDTV
, the committee, in its zeal for Islamic morality, refused to allow evacuation of girls from a school that was on fire because it was the holy month of Ramadan. The sight of "immodestly" dressed girls in the holy month could cause the men to sin by eying the girls' uncovered bodies lustfully. It was alleged that 15 of the girls died in the fire after their evacuation from the building was delayed while the Committee considered the best method to move them without tempting the men.
The Committee, according to NDTV
, was also responsible for the ban on women driving. A woman in Saudi Arabia is not allowed to travel without approval of a male guardian or husband. A woman was sentenced to 10 lashes for violating the ban on women driving in September, but was spared when King Abdullah graciously intervened.
According to The Daily Beast
, even though the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has not provided a legal definition of "sexy eyes," a Saudi journalist bravely attempted a guess:
“uncovered eyes with a nice shape and makeup. Or even without makeup, if they are beautiful, the woman will be in trouble.”
But after taking the trouble to provide a legal definition of "sexy eyes," the Saudi journalist concluded:
“It’s so stupid...I don’t know what to say. They have to stop this. Many people will oppose this in the country. They won’t be silent.”
Stupid? The Saudi state evidently does not think so. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, according to The Daily Beast
, has full support of the state. Recently, heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Naif, extolled the virtues of the Committee and pledged state support:
“The committee is supported by all sides ... It should be supported because it is a pillar from Islam. If you are a Muslim, you should support the committee.”
King Abdullah, pleased with the work of the committee, recently gave it extra 200 million riyals ($53 million) to allow it perform better its duty of promoting virtue and preventing vice.