America Abroad

Mosque vs. Palace


The U.S. Navy lieutenant was off duty and out of uniform. For a shopping trip in downtown Riyadh, she had put on an abayya, the head-to-toe, long-sleeved robe that Saudi women usually wear in public. That wasn't good enough for the mutawa, the vigilantes who enforce Muslim religious laws against impiety and immodesty. A member of the group accosted her as she was entering a shop, prodded her painfully with a long stick and berated her for neglecting to veil her face. A merchant rushed to her defense and explained that she was an American, part of the international effort...

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