Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Eid al-Hob

I believe that is how "feast of love" would be translated into Arabic, as anti-Valentine's Day fever spreads.

AFP adds more information about the campaigns in the Gulf against the color red:
"We have not been selling red roses for a week and we will not bring in any until Valentine's Day is over," said Alan, a Filipino working at a flower shop in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

He said a member of the religious police, known as Muttawa, visited the shop a week ago and ordered the florists not to display any red roses in the runup to February 14.

At a gift shop in the city, a salesman said the Muttawa had told him to remove from the shelves any red-colour gifts symbolising the feast of love.

"We also removed red gift boxes so as not to expose ourselves to punishment, which could be to close the shop and arrest staff," said Mohammad Hassanein al-Hawari.

The Muttawa, whose formal name is the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, does not stop at just openly inspecting shops. "Agents" in camouflage clothes check to ensure their orders are heeded, he told AFP.

In neighbouring Kuwait, where liberals and Islamists invariably clash over Valentine's Day, Islamists have raised the tone this year.

The head of the Islamic Sharia College at Kuwait University, Mohammad al-Tabtabai, issued a fatwa stipulating that the feast is banned under Islam, and two Islamist MPs demanded that the government ban Valentine's Day celebrations, which they said promote immorality.

But main supermarkets and flower shops in the Gulf emirate are filled with Valentine's Day paraphernalia, while hotels publish adverts tempting couples to a dinner and a one-night stay at discounted rates.

In Bahrain, Islamist protests appear to have been drowned by the increasing popularity of Valentine's Day.

"Last year, we imported 20,000 red roses for Valentine's Day. This year, we increased the quantity to 25,000" due to rising demand, said Varghese Modiyil, manager of one of Manama's flower shops.

"I usually give my wife a bouquet (of red roses) on Valentine's Day ... It's not a celebration in the full sense of the word -- just a gesture to renew our love," confided Nawaf al-Ghanem, a 31-year-old Bahraini bank employee.

Red lingerie and heart-shaped jewellery, cushions and teddy bears, offer a wide choice at one shopping mall in Dubai, the most Western-oriented of the seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates and where citizens make up only around 20 percent of the population.

Gift shops and jewellers in Qatar were also decked in red, even though the gas-rich Gulf state is not immune to the slanging matches over the occasion.

"It is unfortunate that some shopowners advertise these (Valentine's Day) items and use them to decorate their shops in pursuit of material gain, flouting our norms and violating our religion," a disgruntled Qatari wrote in a letter to the daily Al-Raya.

UPDATE: Palestine Press Agency (Arabic) has no problem with Valentine's Day, and offers tips for romantic meals that increase sexual potency. The autotranslation is hilarious:
Drink "pomegranate juice"

It is a natural sexual activated since it cleans the blood of harmful deposits exceeded the efficiency of the nerves in the transfer of messages and respond to stimuli in addition to appoint a person to remain steadfast and get rid of psychological anxiety and fears that bedevil the process of citizenship.

Comers "shrimp cocktail"

Zinc found in shrimp increase the number of sperm, and enjoyable to the state of ecstasy stronger as a study on fertility and infertility, in addition to containing amino acid, which reduces tension, as well as the hormone serotonin, which stimulates the feeling of happiness, according to the newspaper "Qabas."

Main dish "filleted meat"

Higher protein found in meat increases the production of body Hormone Alnorenjerin dopamine, which increased vigilance and vitality.

Side dish "sweet potato roasted"
They are rich in potassium, which reduces tension and turmoil, but warned that it put a lot of salt because the sodium potassium discouraging effect, and you can take them some kind acid, which is another source of protein catalyst for sexual desire.

Authority "authority spinach"

In addition to the many health benefits, it contains a lot of iron and vitamins, spinach is a rich source of magnesium, which helps to extend vessels and blood flow necessary for the erection, according to a Japanese study.

" Sweet "chocolate with fresh blackberries tourist"

British scientists discovered the serotonin (or what is known Bhrmon happiness) found in chocolate is agitating sexually for women, in addition to the caffeine content of chocolate, which makes you alert.

In this way, make sure that you, my dear husband will spend the night of the "Valentine's Day" will never forget, sans will always behind these things that make you distinctive characteristic on the night will forget.