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Mutaween are the Saudi government religious police. The word mutaween literally means "volunteers" in Arabic. Other translations render it using less flattering words; the fashion-conscious just call them Mecca Vice. The Mutaween are a constant source of mirth and amusement to the local sand dwellers who wonder what those chaps will get up to next.

The Mutaween are notorious for being staffed by murderers and ex-convicts, whose only job qualification is memorizing the title of the Quran, in order to have their death sentences commuted from being executed to executing others.[1]

More recently, the term has gained use as a threat or swear word throughout the Arab-speaking world to indicate religious police in several Muslim majority areas like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Oman. The novel concept may have originated with Muslims themselves, based on a strict interpretation of Muslim Sharia Law, the entirety of which may be summed up in a single grand edict:


Mutaween or "Sharia Religious Police" was originally a casual synonym for the theological police of Saudi Arabia – also called "the god-cops", as distinct from good cops. The informal short term is "Virtue and Vices Squad of the Blessed Kingdom of Arabia" a.k.a. Mecca Vice. They serve as the cruel-tool for enforcing Sharia laws of Islamic sins virtues, as defined by the Prophet back in the Dark Ages. The Saudi Mutaween force currently consists of more than 300,000 volunteers who regularly arrest, condemn and crucify sinners and other riff raff found in the holy land.

The Sword of Islam


Mutaween have the power to arrest any males, females or shemales caught socializing, and to enforce Islamic codes and business closures during prayer times. They also enforce Muslim dietary rules which prohibit the consumption of alcohol or traditional fare such as tongue and bacon. They also regularly seize – and divvy up – banned consumer products regarded as un-Islamic, such as Western music by groups like Stryper, Newsboys, Jars of Clay and AC/DC. Mutaween also confiscate films by Hollywood stars such as Mel Brooks and Peter North, as well as infidel shows like 24.

Imposition of punishments by the Mutaween

One of the main things that the Mutaween have been praised for is their policy of offering freedom of choice to violators of Sharia law: death by sword, death by flogging, or death by stoning.[2] Mutaween justify this by pointing out that this is true theocrazy.

Mutaween have adorned this tourist poster.

Common Sharia crimes and their punishment

Although there are innumerable Sharia laws, not all are punishable by death. The following are a few examples of crimes under Sharia law with more compassionate punishments:

Other meanings

TV series

Mecca Vice, a.k.a. Mutaween, is a popular TV series in Saudi Arabia that is based on the infidel 1980s weekly series, Miami Vice. However, the Saudi version is shown daily, and it is filmed in real-time using genuine sinners and real swords. The producers had no problem finding handsome actors with which to simulate the appearance of the American version, though they were stumped on how to reproduce scenes of hot babes on the beach in theirs. To solve the problem, they decided to scrap all female characters – an act which greatly pleased the censors as well as all male viewers, who avidly watch television to avoid their wives and subsequent conjugal responsibilities.

The Saudi version usually involves plots discussing the fine line between the overzealous interpretation of sharia law and the responsibility of the state to ensure safety, as well as the never-ending drama of religious family life in a changing desert culture. By the second season, the show was reduced to a montage of Mutaween officers arresting loose women without headscarves and foreign workers caught reading Playboy and beheading them all in the town square. After a mere three seasons, the ratings have soared and it is now the most watched show in the Kingdom.


Mutaween is also the Arabic name for blue-ringed octopuses, which are found in the sea along the coast of Australia. Born Muslims, blue-ringed octopuses are the only devoutly religious sub-human creature in nature. These pious creatures have an internal clock and compass that enables them to know the direction of Mecca and when to pray towards it. Blue-ringed octopuses do not require Mutaween supervision because they are the most devout Muslims on both sea and land.

"Total jerk"

In the Arab world, the more traditional meaning of Mutaween generally refers to any Muslim who volunteers to force others into following the Sharia laws of Islam. Consequently, many native Arab speakers use the term to refer to any real jerks, of which there is no shortage amongst the vaunted ranks of the Arabian Mutaween.

  • Example: Some jerk walks by and one Arab says to another Arab: "مهلا ، أن ننظر إلى رعشة المطاوعة!" ("Hey, check out the Mutaween!")

London chapter

A chapter of the Mutaween based in London is behind the campaign to establish Sharia as an official basis for British law, it being difficult to justify either stonings or clitoridectomies by recourse to the Common Law. The London chapter, however, is not known as the Mutaween but the Weetabix, and doubles as a way to add fiber to one's diet.


Allah forbid that the Religious Police should ever catch you wanking, tanking, winking, blinking or thinking in Saudi Arabia, or you’ll be sorry. BELIEVE IT!

See also

Notes and references

  1. The Raging Towers of Bullshit: Al Qaeda and 9/11, by Lawrence Wright, NY, Dopfman, 2006
  2. The Saudi media debates death by the Saudi Religious Police
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