Saudi Police Pursue Roses and Candy Hearts
Posted on February 11, 2008Once again religious police in Saudi Arabia are banning flowers and anything Valentine's Day related. They want to make sure no one gets any pretty roses or greeting cards. The BBC report on the story said Saudi florists sometimes have to sneak around and deliver roses after midnight.
Saudi authorities consider Valentine's Day, along with a host of other annual celebrations, as un-Islamic.This USA Today article says many Saudis manage to celebrate the holiday despite the rose hating Saudi police. A story in the Kipp Report says the candy heart police in Saud Arabia are at least leaving foreigners alone this year. The Kipp Report story includes a photograph of a veiled woman shopping for candy hearts.
In addition to the prohibition on celebrating non-Islamic festivals, the authorities consider Valentine's Day as encouraging relations between men and women outside wedlock - punishable by law in the conservative kingdom.
The Saudi Gazette reported that some people placed orders with florists days or weeks before Valentine's Day in anticipation of the ban, which is a regular occurrence.
"Sometimes we deliver the bouquets in the middle of the night or early morning, to avoid suspicion," one florist said.