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Valentine’s Special: Saudi religious police deny intent to close flower shops

Last updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:18 PM
Florists and toy stores sometimes hide their red roses and romantic gifts out of sight to avoid being shut down during Valentine’s Day. — Al Arabiya



The head of Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) denied on Tuesday plans to close shops selling flowers during Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh told the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Jazirah: “This is not our specialty. It is the specialty of other parties. We reject what violates the book (Qur'an) and the Sunnah (the Prophet’s teaching) and Saudi Arabia’s regulations.”

“We deal with issues on a case by case basis, and if there is a violation our role is to liaise with concerned government parties,” he added.

Al-Sheikh’s statements followed widely-circulated reports that the commission is planning to close all shops selling flowers on Valentine’s Day.

Previously, the commission banned the sale of red roses ahead of Valentine’s Day, forcing couples to think of new ways to show their love.

In 2008, it ordered florists and gift shop owners in the capital Riyadh to remove from their displays any red-colored items — from roses to wrapping paper and teddy bears.

Non-Muslims in the Kingdom are allowed to celebrate the holiday behind closed doors.

In 2009, florists and toy stores in were reported to have hidden their red roses and romantic gifts out of sight to avoid being shut down. — Al Arabiya


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