Saudi Arabia's religious police are at it again--this time banning the sale of red roses and red gifts in the run-up to Valentine's Day.
The Saudi killjoys, famous for beating women and recently for strip-searching an American mother of three for sitting in a Starbucks with a male colleague, must figure that Valentine's Day is a infidel evil plot.
The ban is specific for Valentine's Day and will be lifted after February 14.
Officials from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice warned flower and gift shops to remove all red items, including roses and wrapping paper, from their shelves.
"They visited us last night," an unidentified florist told the Saudi Gazette. "They gave us warnings and this morning we packed up all the red items."
In Riyadh, the ban came into force on Sunday and will remain until after February 14.
It's a leap to be sure, but the authorities believe the celebration of Valentine's Day is un-Islamic and can encourage out-of-wedlock sexual relations, which are strictly forbidden in the Saudi kingdom.
The crackdown has pushed up the price of the flowers on the black market, with some florists making deliveries in the middle of the night, the paper said.
Couples defying the ban placed orders for red roses weeks before the deadline. Some were sending online Valentine's cards, and others were planning to celebrate the day in neighbouring countries, such as Bahrain, which has a more liberal approach to Islamic law.
Apparently, something about Valentine's Day makes the Saudi Religious Police see red.
Source: Saudi Arabia bans Sale of Red Roses
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