Saudi Arabia declares war on witchcraft
They have nine anti-witch crime bureaus across the country and they take this seriously. It doesn't appear to be code for attacking atheists or gay people. Though it may be really about persecuting women and outspoken men. From the outside it looks like these people actually believe this horseshit. Bit how could they? You only have to think about how literal some American Christians take the idea of demons, devils, and (nonexistent) Satanic cults and realize that if these loons were in charge of their own country they also might lock up or execute hundreds of people for demonic taint.
The sorceress was naked.
The sight of her bare flesh startled the prudish officers of Saudi Arabia's infamous religious police, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), which had barged into her room in what was supposed to be a routine raid of a magical hideout in the western desert city of Madinah's Al-Seeh neighborhood. They paused in shock, and to let her dress.
The woman -- still unclothed -- managed to slip out of the window of her apartment and flee. According to the 2006 account of the Saudi Okaz newspaper, which has been described as the Arabic equivalent of the New York Post, she "flew like a bird." A frantic pursuit ensued. The unit found their suspect after she had fallen through the unsturdy roof of an adjacent house and onto the ground next to a bed of dozing children.
They covered her body, arrested her, and claimed to uncover key evidence indicating that witchcraft had indeed been practiced, including incense, talismans, and videos about magic. In the Al Arabiya report, a senior Islamic cleric lamented that the incident had occurred in a city of such sacred history. The prophet Muhammad is buried there, and it is considered the second most holy location in Islam, second to Mecca. The cleric didn't doubt the details of the incident. "Some magicians may ride a broom and fly in the air with the help of the jinn [supernatural beings]," he said.
The fate of this sorceress is not readily apparent, but her plight is common. Judging from the punishments of others accused of practicing witchcraft in Saudi Arabia before and since, the consequences were almost certainly severe.
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By 2011, the unit had created a total of nine witchcraft-fighting bureaus in cities across the country, according to Arab News, and had "achieved remarkable success" in processing 586 cases of magical crime, the majority of which were foreign domestic workers from Africa and Indonesia. Then, last year, the government announced that it was expanding its battle against magic further, scapegoating witches as the source of both religious and social instability in the country. The move would mean new training courses for its agents, a more powerful infrastructural backbone capable of passing intelligence across provinces, and more raids. The force booked 215 sorcerers in 2012.
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