KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysian state plans to recruit "spies" from the public to snoop on unmarried lovers and report them to Islamic religious authorities, a newspaper said Tuesday.It's not only Malaysia, Saudi Arabia has "religious police" to keep people in line even if they are not Muslim:
The Terengganu state government plans to enlist the part-time spies to look out for un-Islamic behavior, such as unmarried couples kissing or holding hands, the Star daily said.
"Some of these 'spies' could be waitresses or even janitors at hotels acting as auxiliary undercover agents for our religious department," the head of the state government's Islamic and welfare committee, Rosol Wahid, was quoted as saying.
"Accurate details are required for the enforcement officers to act, otherwise they could be pouncing on married couples."
Last October, religious police in another part of this mainly Muslim country caused an outcry when they mistakenly raided the rented holiday apartment of a Christian American couple on suspicion that they were unmarried Muslims in "close proximity."
20 face lash, prison for dancing in Saudi Arabia
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A Saudi Arabian judge sentenced 20 foreigners to receive lashes and spend several months in prison after convicting them of attending a party where alcohol was served and men and women danced, a newspaper reported Sunday.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which it bans alcohol and meetings between unrelated men and women.
The religious police, a force resented by many Saudis for interfering in personal lives, enjoys wide powers. Its officers roam malls, markets, universities and other public places looking for such infractions as unrelated men and women mingling, men skipping Islam's five daily prayers and women with strands of hair showing from under their veil.