Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How come the Vatican doesn't have a Pontifical Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice? The Saudis do!

So England wants Sharia Law to be enforced! No Roses For You, England!

Saudi Arabia's religious police have banned the sale of red roses ahead of Valentine's Day. Crimson items - from roses to wrapping paper - have been banned from the shelves of florists and gift shops in Riyadh until Friday by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.

Look out Cupid: No roses in Riyadh

Every year officials visit florists a few days before Feb 14 to issue warnings on red items, which are widely seen as symbols of love, according to local newspapers.

The Commission raids shops on the eve of Valentine's Day, which it sees as an encouragement of relations outside of wedlock, to ensure that the ban is being carried out.

According to the Saudi Gazette, the ban has resulted in a blossoming black market for red roses. One man, who claimed to run an underground flower shop out of his flat, said he could make as much as SAR20-30 (£2.70- £4) per rose, when the normal price is SAR5-7 (68p - £1).

He told the paper that he sometimes delivers bouquets in the middle of the night to avoid prying eyes, and that his loyal customers place orders weeks before the Feb 14 holiday.

Relationships outside marriage are strictly prohibited in the conservative Muslim state and are punishable by law.

"As Muslims we shouldn't celebrate a non-Muslim celebration especially this one that encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women," Sheikh Khaled al-Dossari , a scholar in Islamic Studies and sharia law, told the paper.

However, there is some hope for hopeless romantics. This year Valentine's Day coincides with mid-term break, so many Saudis have already left the kingdom on holiday.

The ban came into force in Riyadh on Sunday and red items remain forbidden until after February 14. The Telegraph

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