Police, Hai’a deny special Valentine’s Day crackdowns

February 13, 2013
Police, Hai’a deny special  Valentine’s Day crackdowns
Police, Hai’a deny special Valentine’s Day crackdowns

Fatima Muhammad and Mariam Nihal

Saudi Gazette


JEDDAH — Police in Jeddah confirmed there would be no restrictions on flower sales on Valentine’s Day as consumers complained that prices for red roses have soared.

Jeddah police spokesman First Lt. Nawaf Al-Bouq told Saudi Gazette that the force only deals with criminal offenses.

He said: “This includes anything interfering with the rights of others and annoying families.”

Al-Bouq said they have documented previous complaints from families on Valentine’s Day. He said cases are referred depending on the nature of the violation.

“Our job is to ensure the law is upheld and that is ongoing, not restricted to a particular day or time.”

Valentine’s Day in the Kingdom usually drives prices of flowers, mainly red roses, to an annual high.

Red roses, which are usually sold for SR5 each, are sold for up to SR50 on Feb. 13 and 14.

Chocolate, sweets and flower shops usually manage to rake in huge profits over this period.

Saeed Hanif, a studio manager in Jeddah, told Saudi Gazette: “I went in to book a bouquet of red and white roses for my mom and wife.

“Usually I get each bouquet for SR150, but for Valentine’s Day the prices are SR450.

“I asked the vendor why and he said it’s the only day everybody will buy roses and everybody will buy red roses irrespective of the price.”

Mahmoud Raya, a salesman working at a local cakes shop in Jeddah’s Al-Hamra area, said many young men and women order cakes customized for Valentine’s Day. “We get huge orders for Valentine’s and usually sell red velvet and vanilla cakes on the day.”

Ayaat Faiz, a florist at a shop in Rawdah Street, told Saudi Gazette many couples book red roses, teddy bears with red candy wrapped in red lace and bouquets a day before Valentine’s.

He said: “We maximize profits by raising the price from SR5 to SR20, SR25 and SR50 for a red rose because it’s the best time to do so.

“After Feb. 14, we sell red roses at regular prices.”

The Saudi religious police declared they would not close or ban any flower shops in the Kingdom on Valentines Day.

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

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh told the local daily 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 teachings) 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.”

Al-Sheikh’s statements followed unconfirmed 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. Non-Muslims in the Kingdom are allowed to celebrate the holiday behind closed doors.

February 13, 2013
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