Saudi Officials See Red Over Valentine's Day

'Immoral' holiday sparks temporary ban on color
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2008 4:05 PM CST
A street vendor in Saudi Arabia attempts to sell roses before Valentine's day in this 2005 file photo. This years ban on red products before Valentines day has given birth to a black-market rose trade.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – In preparation for Valentine's Day, Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned all things red. The morality cops are out in force in search of the color of love, reports CNN, with plans to confiscate everything from flowers to stuffed toys. The ban is part of a yearly effort, complete with raids on retailers on the night of Feb. 13, to quell romance's big day.

"As Muslims we shouldn't celebrate a non-Muslim celebration, especially one that encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women," said a Saudi religious scholar. For the desperate, black-market red roses are available—at six times the normal price. "Sometimes we deliver the bouquets in the middle of the night or early morning, to avoid suspicion," said a florist.