Mauritanian Salafists demand 'morality police'
A group of protestors last Friday gathered in mid-town Nouakchott to decry what they called "rampant vice" and "infringement of youths' morals" in Mauritanian society.
Members of a previously unknown movement, called "No to Pornography", urged Mauritanians to join a five-minute protest every week following Friday prayers to make people adhere to the rules of Islamic morality.
"This is clear evidence that we are not doing our legitimate, social and moral responsibility," said demonstrators, who picked al-Shurafaa Mosque as their venue.
They called for shutting down "the dens of vice, brothels and liquor stores" as well as banning porno websites. Movement members also argued for "establishing moral police". They enjoined Muslims women to wear the niqab and traditional Islamic dress in Mauritania called melhafa.
The traditionalists drew their inspiration from the discourse of public mufti and imam of al-Saudi Mosque Ahmed Ould Lemrabet, who in November called for establishing a committee for the promotion of virtue and the prevention of vice.
According to Islamic group analyst al-Meshri Ould al-Rabbani, Ould Lemrabet is a controversial figure, who has been "harshly criticised by preaching circles who embrace al-Maliki sect of Islam and Sufi orders for his ideological inclinations to the radical Wahhabi ideology".
The mufti condemned the appointment of women in senior positions and commented that "the best job a woman can do is to take care of her husband", Ould al-Rabbani added.
Otherwise the penalty could be more (4-34) than a stern talking-to.
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