JACKSON, Ms. – Social workers and law enforcement officials in Mississippi are scheduled to begin a mandatory statewide training program this month designed to enhance their ability to recognize and, in some cases, track people who associate or identify with the LGBT community, Governor Phil Bryant announced on Monday.
Taught by seasoned officers from Saudi Arabia’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the vaguely titled ‘Safeguard Initiative’ and its corresponding curriculum are not available to the general public. However, a three-day accelerated session catered toward Mississippi business owners and healthcare providers primarily focuses on “identifying mannerisms and characteristics commonly associated with the homosexual lifestyle,” according to a course description provided to the media by Governor Bryant’s office.
“I’d like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to King Salman and the government of Saudi Arabia for lending their time and knowledge for the benefit of the great state of Mississippi,” Governor Bryant said during a meet and greet with the head of Saudi Arabia’s ‘religious police’ organization on Sunday. “While we may not see eye to eye on some issues, the people of Mississippi and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are unified in understanding the dire importance of protecting our religious freedoms from those whom the devil has put on earth to test our faith.”
Sheikh Abdulrahman Al Alsanad, who heads the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, is in the United States on a four-week trip to meet with top law enforcement officials from Mississippi and North Carolina. “In Saudi Arabia, we enforce Sharia Law as dictated by the rules of Islam,” Sheikh Al Alsanad explained during a luncheon at Governor Bryant’s mansion on Sunday. “Today I pledge to you that by the time I return home to Riyadh, you will have the tools you need to enforce a Christian interpretation of these sacred laws.”
The announcement comes a week after Governor Bryant signed the controversial Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act into law. The new legislation allows individuals, religious organizations, and businesses to deny services to people based on their sexual preference or identity without facing penalties for discrimination.