Growing disaffection

 

The newspaper suggested the attacks reflected general disaffection with the special police force, whose members have the autonomy to patrol the streets and shopping malls and question individuals. 

   

Saudi Arabia imposes an austere form of Sunni Islam which prevents unrelated men and women from mixing, bans women from driving and demands that women wear a headscarf and a cloak.

   

The ministry of interior has rejected calls to disband the group, which has been subject to increased public criticism in recent years for over-zealous efforts to enforce these rules.

   

The body's head, Sheikh Ibrahim al-Ghaith, defended its members and called for physical attacks to stop.

   

"I call for people to stop this and to defend the organisation's members who are only eager to preserve the security and honour of Muslims," the paper quoted him as saying.