TORONTO – Religious police shut a Canadian Embassy booth and another for a Montreal private college at a Saudi Arabia fair last week allegedly because they were being run by women, the globeandmail.com reports.
"From what I hear ... the religious police were very rude,” said George Chrysomilides, president of the Canadian Education Network, adding that the booths have been part of the event for 10 years and staffers have never encountered such problems.
“They shouted at them in a way that was disrespectful and they shut down the booth, the Canadian Embassy booth as well as the LaSalle College booth," Chrysomilides said.
Organizers for the Canadian contingent said the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice forced the three women staffing the booths to leave the fair, even though they had been cleared to attend.
The Canadian Embassy in Saudi Arabia responded by calling the religious police’s reported actions “very damaging to Saudi Arabia's international reputation.”
Women in Saudi Arabia are required to wear conservative coverings and are not allowed to work in mixed environments, but Chrysomilides said the women adhered to the rules and there shouldn’t have been a problem.