Saudi religious police launch Valentine’s Day crackdown – AP

The Saudi religious police launched Thursday a nationwide crackdown on stores selling items that are red or in any other way allude to the banned celebrations of Valentine’s Day, a Saudi official said.

Members of the feared religious police were inspecting shops for red roses, heart-shaped products or gifts wrapped in red, and ordering storeowners to get rid of them, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.

Red-colored or heart-shaped items are legal at other times of the year, but as Feb. 14 nears they become contraband in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom 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. A statement by the religious police, informally known as the muttawa, was published in Saudi newspapers, warning shop owners against any violations.

“Those who don't comply will be punished,” the statement said, without spelling out what measures would befall the offenders.

via No Valentine’s: Saudi religious police see red – Yahoo! News.

  • Seek

    Fine piece. Sheer envy is at the heart of it all. Religious fundamentalists are much like mateless males and females in modern societies who wish nothing but ill upon peers who have found someone special. Indeed, radical orthodoxy can be seen as a form of revenge for love denied or lost — "If I can't have you, nobody else will."

    For the record, Hindu fundamentalists in India in recent years have gone on the rampage over Valentine's Day.

    • phoebeintheforest

      But not Christian fundamentalists….please don't put us all in the same group.

  • Seek

    Christian fundamentalists are a definite improvement over Islamic fundamentalists. Then again, Mussolini was a major improvement over Hitler. And Khrushchev represented a quantum leap from Stalin. That doesn't mean I have to like the Christian version (don't even get me started on the Jewish extremists).