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 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
 Jul 30 2015 - Egypt- Trial of businessman Ehab Talaat postponedqDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) The trial of prominent businessman Ehab Talaat was postponed to 26 December on Tuesday for an expert report on the matter.Talaat is being sued by the Al-Ahram Foundation ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Egypt participates in UN counter-terrorism meetingDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) An Egyptian delegation participated Tuesday in the UN counter-terrorism meeting in the Spanish capital, Madrid, and discussed efforts to tackle militancy.Egypt also ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Egyptian court postpones verdict in Al Jazeera journalists' retrialDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) A court in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, has postponed the verdict in the retrial of three Al Jazeera journalists, jailed for aiding a terrorist organization with false ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Egypt- 'Will justice be served this Thursday?' (1):JournalistsDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) An Egyptian court will conclude one of Egypt's most hotly debated cases since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013, and one of the longest trials the ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Al-Jazeera re-trial case adjourned to 2 AugustDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) The Egyptian court was to conclude Thursday one of Egypt's most debated cases since the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood's regime, also among the longest trial the ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Egypt- Trial against Fatima Naoot continuesDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) The prosecution at the Sayeda Zeinab Misdemeanour Court decided on Wednesday to postpone the case against Fatima Naoot, who is charged with contempt of religion.In turn, ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Ooredoo Oman profit up 18.7 percent in H1MENAFN
(MENAFN) Omani Qatari Telecommuni-cations Company (Ooredoo), has reported an 18.7 percent increase in its net profit for the first half of this year.The company's revenues for the first half of 2015 ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Dubai real estate down, under pressureThe Arabian Post
(MENAFN - The Arabian Post) The Dubai residential market continues to face downward pressure as rents and sale prices decline. It's perhaps indicative of a systemic shift that the current phase's ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Consumer choice, innovation 'key drivers of aviation sector'The Arabian Post
(MENAFN - The Arabian Post) Consumer choice and innovation are the fundamental drivers of competition in the international airline industry, said Etihad Airways president and CEO James Hogan at the ...

 Jul 30 2015 - Qatar's transport sector posts double-digit growth in H1MENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar's transport sector witnessed a healthy double-digit expansion in profitability in the first half of this year, mainly on the back of earnings in logistics segment.The cumulative net ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

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