Source: Yahoo! News
Wire Service: Reuters
On February 13, 2005 Reuters reported, "Saudi Arabia's morality police are on the scent of illicit red roses as part of a clampdown on would-be St Valentine's lovers in the strict Muslim kingdom. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Saudi Arabia's powerful religious vigilantes, have banned shops from selling any red flowers in the run-up to February 14. Florists say the move is part of an annual campaign by the committee -- whose members are known as 'mutawwaeen' or volunteers -- to prevent Saudis marking a festival they believe flouts their austere doctrine of "Wahhabi" Islam...Saudi Arabia's purist version of Islam recognizes only two religious occasions a year -- the Muslim feasts after the fasting month of Ramadan and the Haj pilgrimage. Celebration of the Islamic New Year or the Prophet Mohammad's birthday, common in other Muslim countries, is frowned upon in Saudi Arabia... 'For the last week, we've had no red in the shop,' said Ahmed, a flower shop manager. 'You can't even have red cards.' Despite the prohibition, demand for the banned roses has been strong and unofficial business was booming, Ahmed said."