RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – 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.
The Valentine's Day prohibition is in line with Saudi's strict Wahhabi school of Islam that the kingdom has followed for more than a century. The birthplace of Islam also bans several Muslim holidays except the two most important ones because it considers them "religious innovations" that Islam doesn't sanction.
Saudi religious police, Yahoo! News 49 Comments
[2/24/2010 4:45:36 AM]
Fundie Index: 42
Submitted By: M.M.
Saudi arabia: Now with 50 percent more fundie.
2/24/2010 4:58:42 AM
I'm not a huge fan of Valentine's Day, but this is just silly.
2/24/2010 4:58:57 AM
I don't know much about Islam, but isn't it semi-based on Christianity? It acknowledges Jesus as a prophet, just not as the son of God. Why would they have a problem with Christian holidays?
2/24/2010 5:02:22 AM
"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."
What's to stop people from buying Valentine's Day merchandise the rest of the year? They could easily stock up in January; you know.... a month before the holiday. This is just stupid.
2/24/2010 5:03:17 AM
Reason number 10,457,987 not to live in a backward, theocratic hellhole.
2/24/2010 5:05:35 AM
Wahhabis genuinely screw up everything Islam could evolve into. Arseholes
2/24/2010 5:31:30 AM
And Dubya wanted us to believe these arseholes were the good guys.
2/24/2010 5:33:41 AM
Islam: Religion of peace!
Wait, haven't I heard that from multiple religions before already, like the money grubbing variety we know?
Enjoy your political shithole after oil runs out.
2/24/2010 5:42:30 AM
Phew! Glad at least someone out there has the moral fibre to prevent anything unethical from happening.
Remember boys and girls: the more psychopathically opposed you are to outside culture, the moral loyal and moral you are.
2/24/2010 5:44:25 AM
I think Saudi officals just have their undies in a wad cause nobody was ever their valentine.
2/24/2010 6:36:02 AM
The birthplace of Islam also bans several Muslim holidays except the two most important ones because it considers them 'religious innovations' that Islam doesn't sanction.
"We're so fanatical, we even consider OURSELVES to be infidels!"
2/24/2010 6:47:56 AM
*sigh* It's a real shame that region decided that Wahhabianism would be a good thing. Let this be an object lesson to fundies, this is what happens to countries that enforce your beliefs.
2/24/2010 6:55:33 AM
Behold, the people who really put "fucked up" in Islam.
2/24/2010 7:04:11 AM
Why are we still propping up this regime?
There used to be a huge, modern, secular state called Iraq, right north of it.
It had factorys, industry, infrastructure,
universal education, and public healthcare.
Whatever became of it?
Oh yeah.... We destroyed it to protect Saudi religious police.
2/24/2010 7:04:48 AM
Religion poisons everything.
2/24/2010 7:06:41 AM
However, the dollars coming with the petrol and internet are not innovations at all. Fucking hypocrites.
2/24/2010 7:33:03 AM
AAH! RED ITEMS!
2/24/2010 7:34:18 AM
Chances are the king and the elites in that kingdom are all celebrating Valentine's Day...
2/24/2010 7:35:26 AM
I'm with post #1125139.
Have you ever been to a kegger and then have the beer run out? Shit gets pretty ugly, and fast.
No one is going to care about them after their oil runs out or some new form of energy takes the stage. It'll just be millions of people living in an ash tray. Big deal.
2/24/2010 7:38:16 AM
Hey mutts!! I have red-colored heart shaped bacon!!
2/24/2010 8:25:20 AM
the old firm
And another sign of al fundamentals is revealed: You should not have fun! This is the first Law!
2/24/2010 8:59:51 AM
2/24/2010 9:11:13 AM
Really not surprising giving these are the same people who claim "taking photographs" is forbidden because only god should have that power. Fucking wahhabi islam is a fundamentalist plague, and much like american fundamentalism is tainting christianity elsewhere, it is having the same impact on islam.
2/24/2010 9:30:56 AM
We need to develop a pagan holiday involving black cubes with massive hedonism.
2/24/2010 9:33:05 AM
I Read About The Afterlife
Apparently the Saudi religious police never watched Disney movies as a child.
2/24/2010 9:34:55 AM