Religious Police Cancels Saudi Aramco Event in Ahsa

The Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has cancelled an event organized by Saudi Aramco to thank volunteers Friday night in the eastern region of Ahsa, local media reported today. The Commission objected to the mixing of men and women at the event.

Aramco, which has hosted a month-long cultural festival at King Abdullah Environmental Park in Ahsa, has planned to host a dinner party to thank more than 1,000 male and female volunteers who worked at the festival. But their plans have come to a halt when the Commission intervened to stop the event because they said the venue is not big enough to separate men from women, al-Yaum daily reported. Aramco officials said the venue was adequate.

The Commission reportedly only allowed the female volunteers to enter, while male volunteers were kept outside on the grass waiting for more than 90 minutes. Later, they escorted the female volunteers out and allowed the male volunteers to enter. The rest of the scheduled program was cancelled, including an acappella performance and presenting awards to volunteers.

A local news site published an apologetic text message it said Aramco has sent to the volunteers Friday night. “We apologize for what happened today and was beyond our control,” the message read. “We will be in touch soon.” Al-Yaum said the Commission could not be reached for comment.