Saudi Arabia’s religious police are cracking down on local shops selling gift items for the upcoming Christian New Year’s holiday. Raids will be conducted for the next two days ensure that local retailers do not promote the non-Muslim festival, Al-Watan reported.
The Kingdom’s religious police, the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (APVPV), patrol the streets with law enforcement officers monitoring the public’s adherence to Islamic tradition. Over the next 48 hours, the Authority’s Aseer division will penalize any stores selling flowers, candles or gifts for New Year’s Eve.
A press release posted on APVPV’s website on December 29, 2003 stated that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce is forbidden from registering trademarks for products whose structures resemble that of a cross, a star of David or a Buddha statue. “For Muslims, there are only two holidays a year; Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha,” and APVPV official said.
Prior to the Christmas holiday celebrated on December 25, the Saudi government banned imports of female dolls and stuffed animals, giving storeowners three months to clear out any remaining merchandise. Imposed by interior minister Prince Nayef, the restrictions were dispatched to shopkeepers around the country by the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )