Religious police in Saudi Arabia ban "red items" as part of Valentine's Day crackdown

The BBC reports that Saudi religious police are preventing shop owners from selling red-colored items, because they might be given as gifts on Valentine's Day, which is an "un-Islamic" holiday.

Saudi authorities consider Valentine's Day, along with a host of other annual celebrations, as un-Islamic.

In addition to the prohibition on celebrating non-Islamic festivals, the authorities consider Valentine's Day as encouraging relations between men and women outside wedlock – punishable by law in the conservative kingdom.

The Saudi Gazette reported that some people placed orders with florists days or weeks before Valentine's Day in anticipation of the ban, which is a regular occurrence.

"Sometimes we deliver the bouquets in the middle of the night or early morning, to avoid suspicion," one florist said.