Quotes: 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 beause 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
 May 25 2016 - PAAFR, FAO to execute key projects in KuwaitKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, May 25 (KUNA) -- The Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAFR) have signed agreements with the Food and Agriculture Organization ...

 May 25 2016 - Kuwaiti oil price down 33 cents to USD41.78 pbKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, May 25 (KUNA) -- The price for Kuwaiti oil went down 33 cents on Tuesday to settle at USD 41.78 per barrel (pb) after being at USD 42.11 pb last Monday, ...

 May 25 2016 - Tunisia keen on promoting social development cooperation with Kuwait - Min. Bin RamadhanKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) By Khaled Jabbar TUNIS, May 25 (KUNA) -- Tunisia is working with Kuwait on promoting a solid cooperation on social development while a relevant memorandum of ...

 May 25 2016 - Kuwait's youth inspired by Japan's manufacturing innovation, entrepreneurshipKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) By Miyoko Ishigami OSAKA, Japan, May 25 (KUNA) -- Young manufacturing professionals from Kuwait led by Dr. Souhaila Al-Muttawa, faculty member of the ...

 May 25 2016 - Eurozone agrees to release next bailout funding for GreeceKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) BRUSSELS, May 25 (KUNA) -- Finance ministers of the 19-member Eurogrpup have agreed to unlock the next tranche of bailout to Greece, worth EUR 10.3 billion, after ...

 May 25 2016 - Kuwait protects environment with strict laws - Min. Al-OmairKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) KUWAIT, May 25 (KUNA) -- Kuwait is taking serious measures to protect the environment and natural resources, said Minister of Public Works and Minister of ...

 May 25 2016 - Kuwait crude oil exports to S. Korea down 2.5 pctKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) TOKYO, May 25 (KUNA) -- Kuwait's crude oil exports to South Korea in April fell 2.5 percent from a year earlier to 9.88 million barrels, or 329,000 barrels per ...

 May 25 2016 - Kuwait's nat'l security apparatus chief meets Chechen Pres.Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) MOSCOW, May 25 (KUNA) -- Chief of Kuwait's National Security Apparatus Sheikh Thamer Ali Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah met with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in ...

 May 25 2016 - Saudi's Vision 2030 repositions its economic situationMENAFN
(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia plans to overcome its relaince on oil and integrate its economy and markets on an international scale, in order to attract more foreign investors.Moreover, Vision 2030 will ...

 May 25 2016 - Saudi, Egypt agree on USD 3.6bn property projectMENAFN
(MENAFN) The USD 3.6bn Mountain View iCity was proclaimed, Egypt's biggest next project which is a joint venture between Egypt and Saudi Arabia.Furthermore, the project reaffirms the confidence ...

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help