Friday, February 12, 2010

Saudi religious police ban red items ahead of Valentine's Day

From AP:
The Saudi religious police are cracking down on stores selling items that are red or in any other way allude to banned celebrations of Valentine's Day.

A Saudi official says policemen are inspecting shops for red roses, heart-shaped products or gifts wrapped in red, and ordering storeowners to get rid of them.

Such items are legal at other times of the year, but as February 14 nears they become contraband.

Saudi Arabia bans celebration of Western holidays such as Valentine's Day, named after a Christian saint said to have been martyred by the Romans in the 3rd Century.

Most shops in Riyadh's upscale neighborhoods have removed all red items from their shelves.

Red wrapping paper is also forbidden.

The many Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia were warned not to do anything valentine-y in public on February 14th, including blowing kisses.

AP is watering down the reasons that the Saudis are against Valentine's Day. It is not strictly because it is a Christian holiday, but because (as I mentioned in a Saudi Vice episode two years ago)

As Muslims we shouldn't celebrate a non-Muslim celebration especially this one that encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women.

Here's the perfect gift for Saudi Valentine's Day!