Anthropologist Saad Sowayan said the Saudi royal family would never scrap the morality squad because it bolsters their own rule, which has involved decades of absolute power.
But he added that the authorities could use the mutawaeen to advance reforms, as King Faisal did in the 1970s to push education for women and the spread of television.
"The government should choose people among the mutawaeen to justify reforms today. People will accept anything more readily if it is framed in a religious discourse," he explained.
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