Black markets in red

[In Saudi Arabia] Every heart, every rose and every item that’s red or that suggests
love and romance descends underground, to the black market, where its
price triples and quadruples. Red flowers are hidden in back rooms.

Ibrahim al-Ghaith, chief of the 5,000-man religious police, told
Al-Hayat newspaper his men were "acting upon instructions to confiscate
manifestations" of Valentine’s Day, birthdays and other celebrations.

"The feast of love is based on love and passion and things that are not proper for a Muslim to respond to," he told the paper.

Salesmen and waiters avoid wearing red; entrepreneurs whose stores maintain a red hue risk days in jail.

religious lectures at schools, teachers and administrators warn
students against marking the occasion, noting Saint Valentine was a
Christian priest, according to an educational supervisor, who spoke on
condition of anonymity.

Saint Valentine is believed to have been a 3rd-century martyred Roman priest or bishop.

Here is the story.


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