Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Saudi Valentines defy the love police  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 14/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - AFP) Red roses lurk hidden in flower shop back rooms and heart-shaped chocolates are sold under the counter, but Saudis still manage to buy Valentine's gifts and defy the religious police.Florist Hussein came up with a simple solution to a ban on red tokens of love: he filled his window with white roses, orange irises and violet hydrangeas."I've hidden everything red in the shop, so when a religious police patrol comes along, they find nothing to complain about," he said.Anti-Valentine's Day patrols by the Muttawa religious police -- formally known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice -- started on Wednesday.They began entering premises stocking chocolates, flowers and souvenirs to warn proprietors against selling anything red or heart-shaped and linked to the annual "infidel celebration" of matters romantic.Saudi Arabia applies a rigorous interpretation of Islam under which the sexes are strictly segregated and any public display of affection is completely taboo.It is also the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.Hussein's shop window may be blooming with white, orange and violet, but he still has the real thing -- red roses -- out the back.

"I've sold at least 350 red roses at 20 riyals (5, 3.90 euros) a pop," he said."Many women call us on the phone to order roses, because they fear the religious police."Kumar, another florist, was persuaded by a Muttawa visit not even to consider flouting the Valentine's Day ban, however."We're going to sell these to a chocolate shop," he said, pointing to bouquets of red flowers in a back room of his store.Confectioners do have chocolate hearts for discreet sale, but only to the right people."Of course we have them, but the religious police came by and warned us against selling them," said one chocolate shop owner who asked not to be identified.- 'It's only chocolate!' -"We hid them because we don't want any problems," he added, smiling, indicating that an illicit transaction involving the chocolate contraband would be more than acceptable.In another shop in a commercial district of the capital, an Egyptian employee said the religious police had told them not to sell heart-shaped chocolate or sweets wrapped in red paper.One man browsing in the shop was clearly unhappy: "Why are they forbidden? It's only chocolate!" he complained.Another customer -- an older man -- shot him a dark look.

Only a liberal fringe of Saudis actually celebrates Valentine's Day in an ultra-conservative society in which clerics and their pronouncements are widely respected.One of the most popular, Mohammed al-Oreifi, this year took to Twitter where he has hundreds of thousands of followers, decreeing that those in the kingdom who celebrate Valentine's Day "want to copy the infidels".However, not everywhere in Saudi Arabia is the ban strictly enforced.In the Red Sea port of Jeddah, the country's commercial capital in the west, a more liberal attitude towards the lovers' festival can be noted.This year, some florists have been openly selling red roses, and are unafraid to give their names."The religious police didn't come. We're doing nothing wrong anyway," said Abu Zakaria, who runs a flower shop in the north of the city.

Another man, Thamer Hussein, said some people with romantic yearnings marked the Valentine's festival a day in advance, to ensure the experience was hassle-free."Some young people celebrated St Valentine's Day on Wednesday evening, with small parties and exchanges of gifts," he said.In this way they managed to avoid the attentions of the Muttawa, who are expected to perform their duties religiously on Friday, ensuring that for unmarried couples a quick canoodle is definitely unacceptable.

 


AFP




  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 24 2014 - Qatar- Aljazeera to mark 300 days since arrests of journalistsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula)   Aljazeera will be airing a special 300 second montage live on TV and online today to mark the 300 days since the arrest of its journalists Baher Mohamed, Mohamed Fahmy and ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Qatari, Iranian firms sign agreementThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula)  Qatar's Minister of Economy and Trade H E Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani yesterday visited the Islamic Republic of Iran, accompanied by a delegation that ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Ecuador invites Qatari investors in key sectorsThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula)  The visiting President of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa Delgado, invited Qatari businessmen to invest in some of the promising sectors of the Ecuadorean economy, ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Qatar- Interior Ministry signs deal worth QR329m at MilipolThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula)  The total number of people who visited the recently concluded Milipol Qatar exhibition reached 6,583 persons from 63 countries, according to a press statement.Brig Nasser ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Saudi- Rem Sibug leads winners in InterCon Monthly MedalArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Talented Filipino young golfer Christer Rem Sibug was back in winning mode after a vacation in his native Philippines when he claimed the centerpiece A-Division title last Friday ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Saudi- Lifebuoy bowlers strike double in Mobily CupArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Lifebuoy bowling team made an impressive start to the Thursday League 12th Conference for Mobily Cup winning a Team of the Week and Bowler of the Week double at the Bowling City ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Saudi- Alaska Aces trump Purefoods 93-73Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) MANILA: Everything was going well for debuting reigning Grand Slam champion Purefoods on Wednesday night until the Star Hotshots known last season as the San Mig Coffee Mixers ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Malaysia charges 3 with supporting ISArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court on Thursday charged three men with supporting the Islamic State (IS) after they were arrested while attempting to leave the country to join the ...

 Oct 24 2014 - Corruption 'paralyzes' Ukraine: PoroshenkoArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) ODESSA Ukraine: Corruption is 'paralysing' Ukraine's economy President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday on a pre-election visit to the country's most important sea port.Poroshenko ...

 Oct 24 2014 - New Swedish govt steps up spendingArab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) STOCKHOLM: Sweden's new left-wing government presented Thursday its 2015 budget with the Nordic country's largest deficit in nearly two decades as it seeks to boost employment ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help