Saudi women’s university in spat with religious cops

World’s largest female university has drawn ire of hardliners due to reported presence of boys on campus

The world’s largest female-only university has been embroiled in a public spat with Saudi Arabia’s religious police over the reported presence of men on campus.

According to English language Saudi Gazette newspaper, the Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh rejected a request from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice to open an office within its grounds.

Princess Nora University has around 56,000 female students and academic staff, but is said to have drawn the ire of the kingdom’s hardline conservative establishment due to reports of young men sneaking onto the campus and photos of females running in a marathon which appeared on Twitter.

Saudi Gazette said earlier this month that a vehicle belonging to the religious police had attempted to enter the campus without permission, but had been turned away by university security. According to the newspaper, the commission would have to obtain the consent of both the Ministry of Higher Education and the powerful Council of Ministers before it could move onto the university grounds.

The Haia, or religious police, are appointed by the government to enforce strict Sharia law in the Gulf kingdom, including the separation of unrelated males and females, dress code and Islamic food rules.

It has been criticised in the past for abusing its powers, including last month when the Saudi Minister of Labour accused the Haia of violating an agreement on the feminisation of lingerie and accessory shops by forcing employers to implement strict rules that do not exist.

The religious police also are known to enforce a custom that prevents women from driving in the kingdom, despite there being no formal law.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: rednrosy

as the religious police are men, then surely they are not allowed to be in the presence of these ladies?

Posted by: khalid

the irony of it all

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Investing in the next generation: the value of Gulf education

Investing in the next generation: the value of Gulf education

Developers tired of traditional real estate assets are turning...

GCC's class act threatened by teacher shortages

GCC's class act threatened by teacher shortages

A global shortage of school teachers is particularly hurting...

Educating business minds

Educating business minds

University of Wollongong is one of a number of institutions helping...

Most Discussed