Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Saudi - Dark look at secret hearts - It's only chocolate   Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab Times - 16/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!

(MENAFN - Arab Times) 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. "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 ultraconservative 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 unacceptabl


Arab Times

  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 28 2016 - Egypt, Poland 2016 trade exchange to reach USD600mnMENAFN
(MENAFN) The volume of trade between Egypt and Poland is predicted to reach USD600mn by the end of this year.Furthermore, trade exchange increased by 3 percent to surpass more than USD350mn amid the ...

 Oct 28 2016 - UAE, Oman ink transport agreementMENAFN
(MENAFN) The UAE and Oman signed an international road transport of passengers and goods deal.Moreover, the deal aims to enhance cooperation in this field for the benefit of the two fraternal peoples ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Viva Kuwait Q3 revenue down by 14pctMENAFN
(MENAFN) Viva Kuwait recorded a 14 percent decline in Q3 net profit, as the impact of lower oil prices on the Kuwaiti economy dragged on revenue generation.Moreover, the Saudi Telecom Co. subsidiary ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Qatar- Labour Minister elected Chairman of ALO boardGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The 85th session of the Arab Labour Organisation (ALO), which began its meetings in Doha yesterday, has elected HE the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Qatar- PM meets ALO officialGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani met a senior Arab Labour Organisation (ALO) official who is currently visiting ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Qatar- Host of activities at 'Family Fun Fridays' todayGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The ‘Family Fun Fridays"; series continues today at The Pearl-Qatar. Organised by United Development Company (UDC), master developer of The Pearl-Qatar, today";s ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Bangladesh envoy hosts Asian ambassadors' dinnerGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Bangladesh";s ambassador to Qatar, Ashud Ahmed, and his wife recently hosted an Asian Ambassadors"; Group Dinner in Doha. The event was attended by the ambassadors of different ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Apple Fest begins at LuLu outletsGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The Apple Fest was launched at all LuLu Hypermarket outlets in Qatar yesterday. The week-long festival features more than 20 varieties of apple from Spain, France, Italy, New ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Qatar- 28 trucks seized in crackdownGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) In a crackdown on overloaded and uncovered trucks, Al Khor and Al Thakhira Municipality has seized 28 such vehicles from the Umm Al Baraka area, the Ministry of Municipality and ...

 Oct 28 2016 - Qatar National Day Barwa Sports Championship setGulf Times
(MENAFN - Gulf Times) The Barwa Group, in association with the Qatar National Day Celebrations Associated Activities Organising Committee, will hold sports competitions at the Barwa Workers ...





Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Search News
Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices


Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks

Saudi Arabia 

Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor


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