Friday, March 15, 2002
One more reason why Saudi Arabia should be one of the countries on Americas list for a change in government was noted in the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web Today."
When a gang of Arab terrorists, most of them Saudis, slammed a pair of hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center, New York firemen rushed into the burning towers to save people. By the time the buildings collapsed, 343 firemen had lost their lives, accounting for more than 10% of the deaths in the Sept. 11 atrocities.
When fire broke out at a girls' school in Mecca on Monday, Saudi firemen tried to save the students. Here's what happened, according to CNN:
The al-Eqtisadiah daily said firemen scuffled with members of the religious police, also known as "mutaween," after they tried to keep the girls inside the burning building because they did not wear head scarves and abayas (black robes) as required by the kingdom's strict interpretation of Islam.
The English-language Saudi Gazette, in a front-page report on Thursday, quoted witnesses as saying that members of the police, known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, had stopped men who tried to help the girls warning "it is a sinful to approach them."
One civil defence officer told al-Eqtisadiah he saw three members of the religious police "beating young girls to prevent them from leaving the school because they were not wearing the abaya."
Fifteen girls died in the blaze. The official Saudi reaction, reported in the Arab News, sounds like a coverup: "The Civil Defense Department has prepared an official report which casts doubt on whether the members of the Commission for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Vice who allegedly played a role in hampering rescue operation at the fire-hit Makkah [Mecca] girls' school were really members of the organization."
There's one word for this behavior: Evil. Just imagine if this had been a home on fire in the middle of the night. If a woman ran out into the street nearly naked with what little clothes she had on on fire, would she end up being stoned to death by the "police" outside. Which is better? Burning to death or stoning? Only in Saudi Arabia would you even have to consider that choice.