Un-forbidden love: Saudis enjoy second ‘religious police-free’ Valentine’s Day

A florist in Jeddah freely sells roses to a customer on Valentine’s Day. In previous years, the religious police confiscated roses on Feb. 14. (AN photo by Adnan Mahdali)
Updated 15 February 2018
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Un-forbidden love: Saudis enjoy second ‘religious police-free’ Valentine’s Day

JEDDAH: Saudis celebrated Valentine’s Day and its message of love and peace in the absence of religious police after a fatwa permitting the celebrations was circulated via Twitter.
Gift and flower shops opened their doors without any hassle or confiscation from the religious police, who formerly banned florists from working on Valentine’s Day and monitored the Kingdom’s streets for any violations. This was confirmed by market visits by a number of Arab News reporters in different Saudi cities.
Speaking to Arab News, Sheikh Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi, former president of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Makkah, endorsed Valentine’s Day as a social celebration similar to the National Day and Mother’s Day.
“All these are common social matters shared by humanity and are not religious issues that require the existence of a religious proof to permit it,” he said.
Describing love as a natural feeling, the cleric said that Valentine’s Day celebrated “a positive aspect of the human being.”
Al-Ghamdi said the celebration of love was not limited to non-Muslims. “There are many worldly things that we deal with morally that may be of interest to non-Muslim communities and became more common among Muslim communities because of their popularity,” he said, citing the Prophet as an example. “The Prophet dealt with many worldly things that came from non-Muslims.”
He rejected the view that marking the day is an imitation of non-Muslims and said: “Even greeting peaceful non-Muslims in their special religious holidays is permitted without participating in a forbidden act that contradicts Islam.”
Al-Ghamdi stressed his support for fatwas that permit the celebration of Valentine’s Day and exchanging of gifts.
A fatwa issued on Feb. 13 by the fatwa secretary of Dar Al-Ifta Al-Misriya (Egyptian Religious Edict House), Ahmed Mamdouh, said: “There is no harm to allocate one day to show love to one another.”
Tunisian Grand Mufti Othman Battikh also rejected the claim that Valentine’s Day is solely a Christian tradition. “Anything that brings people closer together is good and desirable,” he said, adding that Muslims can celebrate without departing from Islamic ethics.
Mohammed Al-Shahat Al-Jundi, a member of the Islamic Research Center, said that the celebration helps “maintain ties of kinship.”
Al-Ghamdi described the current religious police as “very useful and conciliatory.”


Iranian regime continues to feed sectarianism: Saudi deputy defense minister

Updated 24 April 2019
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Iranian regime continues to feed sectarianism: Saudi deputy defense minister

  • “We have to choose between the chaos that Iran spreads and stability, security and development,” he said
  • Delegation led by Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz in Russia for an official visit

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman said the Iranian regime continues to feed sectarianism and disrespect international laws at the eighth Moscow Conference on International Security on Wednesday.

“We have to choose between the chaos that Iran spreads and stability, security and development,” he said adding that “Iran is spreading chaos in the region through destruction and bloodshed, and by supporting the militias of Hezbollah and Houthis.”

“Houthi militias continue to violate the resolutions of the Security Council and the Stockholm Agreement, ignored UN resolution 2216 and the Gulf initiative…our goal is to achieve stability for Yemeni citizens under a legitimate government,” he said.

The deputy defense minister also said that the Kingdom is witnessing today an unprecedented transformation and development to achieve the vision 2030.

A delegation led by Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi deputy minister of defense, has arrived in Russia for an official visit on Tuesday, during which the members will take part in the eighth Moscow Conference on International Security and hold a number of meetings.

Prince Khalid was welcomed by Saudi Ambassador to Russia Dr. Raed Qurmali, military adviser Maj. Gen. Talal Al-Otaibi and Military Attache Gen. Mohammad Al-Mutairi, along with the deputy chief of staff of the Russian defense ministry and other civilian and military officials.