Meet One Kick-Ass Saudi Woman

I’m no proponent of violence, and as a Muslim my faith teaches me to avoid it whenever possible. Still, in the face of oppression, my faith also teaches me that it is not only an option to stand up for myself but a sacred duty. In short, slap me in the face and you can be assured that I’ll slap you right back. And if you’re falsely using my religion to justify slapping me in the face, expect me to slap you that much harder.

So, when I heard about an as-yet-unnamed young Saudi woman beating the daylights out of a so-called morality police officer who was trying to bust her for illegally socializing with a man in an amusement park, I was more than amused: I was proud. Learning more about this woman’s story, only made me want to pump my fist higher and harder in support.

The officer, a member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (known as Hai’a), approached her and her companion at an amusement park in Al-Mubarraz to question them about their relationship. Yes, it’s illegal for unmarried Saudi men and women to mix. When the young man being questioned collapsed for an unknown reason, the woman proceeded to repeatedly punch and kick the morality cop. She beat him so badly that he incurred bruises all over his face and body and had to be taken to the hospital.

So, seriously, how can you expect me not to be cheering on the inside—and well, a little on the outside too?

I want to clarify, I’m not just cheering as a woman delighted to see a fellow member of her gender stand up and fight in the face of injustice; I’m cheering as a devout Muslim who knows that the idea of a “morality” police force is absolutely contrary to Islamic ideals. The Qur’an I’ve read and studied has taught me a great deal about morality: that there should be no compulsion in religion, that men and women are created equal, that “oppression is worse than killing” and that in the face of oppression I am entitled to defend myself and my people.

Though I’ve never set foot on Saudi soil, I have stood across from my fair share of morality police in Iran. While the laws in Iran aren’t as obscenely sexist and oppressive as those in Saudi Arabia, they are still supremely suffocating.

Seeing these morality police on the streets of Tehran has always annoyed me, and I admit that I have a special place in my heart filled with disdain for them. But I also feel sorry for the bastards. Not only are most of them young and uneducated, they are also unable to see how they’re being used by the state to promote distinctly immoral policies that contradict the very creed they think they’re upholding.

Still, even as I pity these morality cops, I can’t help but want to beat the crap out of them. And today, justifiably or not, this single Saudi woman has made that same part of my heart–that part so brimming with scorn for all the godforsaken morality police of the world–dance with joy.

ABOVE: A police officer warns women about their clothing in the author’s home country of Iran. Photo from / CC BY-SA 2.0


  1. She’s very, very brave – or very, very very fed up. Both, no doubt. She faces dire punishment: “Should the woman be charged, she could face a lengthy prison term and lashings for assaulting a representative of a government institution” (from the site you’ve linked to above). Something tells me she won’t avoid prosecution. There has to be a critical mass of protest and rebellion to genuinely overwhelm authorities.

  2. Hateful policies, hateful laws, hateful punishments. I totally understand how this brave woman must have felt; something just went snap. I hope she knows it made enough noise to echo around the world and reach our ears. But it is knowing that whether she is “freed” or thrown in jail, she remains half a person in the eyes of the law, that reaches our hearts.

  3. I don’t know that I can use the word “proud” because I have no ties to Saudi Arabia nor am I a Muslim but that word best describes what I felt when I read this. I’m just proud. It’s inspiring to read about women that are willing to stand up and fight (literally, in this case) the injustices they face. I can’t help but be amazed and can’t even begin to imagine what it must have taken for her to actually hit him. I won’t even try to lie and say I’m not cheering on the inside because I am!

  4. winston says:

    The Quran gives women more rights than they have in the United States today, and definately more than in Saudi Arabia, a socially sick corrupt majority of people knee deep in wealth. The Wahabis are NON MUSLIM

  5. Nyxelestia says:

    It always amazes me how different a culture can be from its founding religion. And I admit, as someone born and raised in America, the amount of freedom the Qu’ran grants women vs how much freedom women in Islamic countries have still surprises me. I’m happy to hear that this women finally took the offensive against an unjust law, and hope the unjust consequences can be equally fought.

  6. Islam has always encouraged women to partake in academic and corporate area of the society. Bibi Khadijah, the wife of the Prophet was a successful business woman. Ironically, in the modern times, the radical clerics have attempted to transform woman into just a sex object coine them to the four walls of their home. No where in the Holy Quran is there an injunction for females to cover their faces with veil. The oppression and gender base violence in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arab and Iran etc. is deploreable. I salute women actvists like Ms. Moezzi who have taken upon themselves to empower women for gender equity. In my humble opinion, these brave souls are doing service to Islam and mankind. Keep tha up

  7. The blog is ll fake as it is not saudia not saudi women and nor saudi police, check the dress of saudi police. this is all a fake story to implement bad image of saudi ppl, one should be ashamed behind this conspiracy…

  8. Truth should prevail says:

    Please check the origin of this photo,knowing the area,
    This is not Saudi faces nor uniform.
    Please check for the sake of your credibility.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mona Eltahawy, Altmuslimah, Dawud Israel, Alex Wright, Anne Marte and others. Anne Marte said: RT @msmagazine: Bad-ass Saudi woman beats the daylights out of a corrupt so-called morality police officer […]

  2. […] A Saudi woman gives a morality officer a taste of his own medicine. More here. […]

  3. […] May 19, 2010 by Melody Moezzi · 6 Comments […]

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