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Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Arabia)

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Definition: The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, originally and officially known as the League for Public Morality, is Saudi Arabia's religious police. It was set up concurrently with the establishment of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the 1920s by Ibn Saud.

The committee enforces, often violently, the country's strict Sharia law according to Wahhabi precepts--Islam's strictest interpretation, next to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The committee--essentially a militia--comprises of some 3,500 members who patrol streets, hotels and even private homes imposes "a never-ending inquisition on the population," in the words of Laurent Murawiec (in Princes of Darkness: The Saudi Assault on the West (Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2005).

King Abdullah's promises to reform the committee and rein it in have not been kept.

From 1996 to 2001, when it was in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban had a Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice

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