Saudi Arabia, Tash Ma Tash, The religious Police

Tash Ma Tash is a famous and funny program in Saudi Arabia. In this (banned) episode they are showing off the religious police, or The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the  Prevention of Vice.
It’s a very good documentary, and somebody has been very nice and added subtitles, so non-Arabic speaking people can enjoy it too.

You will have to click on the link because I can’t make it come up in the page.

It starts with a nice Muttawa in 1960

tashmatash nice muttawa

And then they follow a day in the life of the modern Muttawa!

tashmatash nasty muttawa


16 Responses

  1. That was really interesting. Thank you! Are there any other episodes with English subtitles?

  2. Had a memorable encounter with a Muttawa 2 days ago. He was quite bold & came up to me saying” Excuse me, cover your hair right now”.
    All I said was no, I won’t there are tons of women walking around without hijab. Needless to say that he wasn’t pleased, but neither was I. We both ended up walking away.

  3. This is great! Finally a Tash ma tash we can understand! I think it left a lot of openings for positive muttaween, the über muttawa in the black cloak was very nice.
    And the 1960 muttawa was very dignified and adorable. I am sure SA would be a much better place if all muttawas were like him!

    And those short thobes! LOL! Is that the new ”mini”-thobe?

    And did you notice they called the girl ”Haram” not Nissaa? Isn’t that very nasty and bad?

    Rahma, why did they single you out then? Just bad luck? I think you gave the right response. good for you!

  4. Notice the 1960 Muttawa ”accidentally” looks away when a woman passes him closely while the modern mutts harass and follow a woman into a shop to harass her even more!

  5. Watching an episode of Tash ma Tash was just what my habibi needed alleviate some homesick-ness. Thanks Carol! It was great to be able to following along with him in English. (Although, my habibi’s not for the enforcement of religion or religious practices, either!)

  6. I found this video to be a nightmare.

  7. @AA, I have no clue why they singled me out. I was with a Korean friend who thought they came to us because most people think she’s from the Philippines, therefore a maid. I personally think they just ran into us.

  8. Just the term ‘religious police’ is disgusting never mind anything else. I just can’t get my head around KSA.

  9. My husband’s father was the head of the Department of the Prevention of Vice and the Preservation of Virtue in his village during the 60’s-70’s. From what I hear, he was very much like the man shown in the beginning. In fact, women would come to his home, have tea, and ask advice, with their faces uncovered. It’s a very different life now. 😦

  10. Haha..its a big comedy but unfortunately its real in saudi? I went to Saudi 2 times but i saw its quite free and women move freely (with abaya and some without covering face).. I dont think its everyday routing there… Big big shopping mall with more women than men and tight abayas 🙂 What I see here is quite opposite..

  11. And I strongly fee that Fitna is wrongly translated as inciting sexual desire. In fact I feel these police are real fitna, attacking some1’s privacy, freedom. And just hitting on head without reason? What relgious advice they are following? Misinterpretation of religion to suit thier needs. As AA said, 1960s police are so polite and disciplined and turn face when they see women. Today’s these relgious police are hooligans, thugs. Shame on these men

  12. I couldn’t watch this video in one sitting because the sight of people brutally interfering with other people’s private lives made me choke … literally! It took me several days to see the complete clip. Having the power to harass innocent citizens for their haircuts or whether or not they are with their wives must be a delicious experience for these psychopaths and you must be a psychopath to want such a job.

    The Saudis must be total sheep for allowing this to happen and for agreeing to endure it every single day of their lives. What’s the use of being one of the richest nations on earth if you still do not have access to the most basic human rights? Such as walking in the street with your wife without having to prove to anyone that she is your wife? Or wearing your hair in the way you like and not risking to have it forcefully cut?

    How come this is considered a comedy? It is not a comedy but a tragedy in disguise! If Saudis really laugh at something like this, they must have hit the bottom of despair!

    And by the way, wasn’t this the same police that stopped innocent schoolgirls from leaving a burning school in 2002 just because they weren’t wearing correct Islamic dress? The same psychopaths who regarded the girls’ lives as less important than the dress rules? Not to mention that the “mutaween” was later cleared of all charges because the “mutaween” can never be wrong!

  13. saudi women are not happy with current situation

  14. Snow ma, that is a very impressive video, thank you for sharing. I hope these women will get their loved ones back. It reminds me a bit of the ”Crazy mothers” of Argentina.

  15. Very disturbing video. Seems like they live in a communist country instead of a Muslim country. Every day people are in fear of being taken in by the thugs of this country.
    What about the Sheik who raped and sodomized his 5 year old daughter and was let go with “blood money”? How disgusting. These people are more than barbaric. The religion is a sin upon itself. I do not see much good of the religion in their country at all. It is just a way to control the people and that is what religion has always been about no matter what the religion. I don’t think people need a religion to tell them to be good people. It is their nature to be good people. They don’t need virtuosity police.
    Good actors though. I am very surprised they haven’t been arrested for going against the laws of the country and speaking out against such retarded incidences.
    My son who is half Arab said he would never live over there because of the way they treat everybody.
    If this is called religion, I want no part of it. These men are sexual perverts in disguise. I bet there are more homosexuals in Saudi Arabia then in any other country. I know Americans and other men go there and meet men in the hookah bars.
    There is nothing in the Qu’ran about male homosexuality being a sin but anything a woman does is against the law. BS.
    I don’t see how people live there in peace and harmony when you have men like this running around on the streets.

  16. Penny, you are absolutely right! I grew up in a communist country and some of the things I saw in this video are very similar to the things that my parents went through back in the 1960s. My parents were denied access to a restaurant once because my father wore long sideburns and my mother was in a short skirt. They were accused of endorsing the Western lifestyle. Never to shy from any confrontation, my father told them in no uncertain terms that it wasn’t any of the restaurant’s staff business how he wore his hair or what my mother liked to wear. They did not let him in anyway but he made sure they would at least become very uncomfortable and slightly apologetic.

    This video, however, exceeds anything I have heard about the communist times. Play the video again and look at the Saudi man who was quaking in his boots as he had to prove to the religious police that the woman in his car was his wife and not his lover. It’s amazing how he didn’t find the guts to just tell them to mind their own business and I was surprised that his wife didn’t mind lowering the window to answer the policeman’s questions as I thought that Saudi women were not allowed to speak to strange men.

    What if your family is approached by criminals who pretend to work for the religious police and they do something really bad to your family, such as attacking the husband and raping the wife? Whose fault is it going to be then? Most probably the man will be humiliated further by being called “stupid” for believing the impostors’ lies and the woman will be accused of having extramarital sex with the men who forced themselves on her one by one. Is she going to be sentenced to lashes for “allowing” her own rape?

    Honestly, the Saudis are like sheep and keep baaing like sheep while a bunch of arrogant bastards treat them as people whose privacy can be violated at any time. After all, this is the same country where 15 Saudis, including a woman, were sentenced to as many as 250 lashes each for speaking out against the monarchy in 2003. No wonder that the less elevated specimens of the Saudi race turn on their domestic help and regard their foreign workers as an outlet for their pent-up rage.

    Not that I’m excusing the cruelty with which the Saudis treat the people from non-Western countries but that’s another story.

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