Religious Police Go Far Beyond Saudi Arabia, Found in Nearly One-in-Ten Countries: Pew Research Center
Pew’s findings on religious police, part of a larger study of religious hostilities worldwide, counted 17 countries with one form or another of religiously motivated law enforcement.
The nations spread far beyond the Middle East and include India and Indonesia. In Nigeria, the Hisbah religious police receive support from a handful of states, while in Vietnam, the government monitors and arrests what it sees as members of extremist religious groups such as Dega Protestants and Ha Mon Catholics. In Malaysia, police enforce sharia law to clamp down on banned media, alcohol consumption and khalwat, a term that means being in “close proximity” to unrelated members of the opposite sex. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, movements against religious police are gaining popularity.