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Middle East: Protesting Love

Categories: Middle East & North Africa, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Arts & Culture, Ideas, Music, Religion

Valentine's Day has come and gone, but in the Middle East, the debate still continues on whether it is an occasion which should be celebrated or shunned. With both Saudi Arabia [1] and Kuwait [2] warning against Valentine's Day celebrations, bloggers had a lot to talk about.


Shopaholic Q8eya [3] lashes out at the new restriction in this post from Arabic:

حرام نحب..حرام ندرس في مدارس مختلطة..حرام نفرح…حرام نشتغل..حرام نغني..حرام نصادق..حرام نرقص..حرام ناكل….حرام نتنفس..حرام نضحك..حرام نلبس..حرام نشتاق..حرام نهني..حرام
كل شي حرام
!!ويقولون دين يسر
أي يسر هذا؟
!!لا يبا إذا هذا دينكم فأنا ما أبيه

مع إني ما أحب الفالنتاين بس حامض على بوزكم راح أحتقل هالسنة
!!حرام، مو حرام راح نحتفل راح نحتفل

حامض على بوزكم بعد مرة و
Happy Valentine’s Day everybody

It is haram (forbidden by Islamic law) to love..haram to study in co-education schools.. haram to be happy..haram to sing..haram to work..haram to make friends..haram to dance..haram to eat..haram to breathe..haram to laugh.. haram to dress up..haram to miss someone..haram to greet.. haram
Everything is haram!!
And they say this is the religion of ease!!
Where is the ease in this?
If this is your religion, I don't want it!!

(Do what you want)
Happy Valentine's Day everybody

The blogger also posts the following picture of a banner places in Kuwait which reads:

No to Valentine's. Muslims, this celebration is Haram.

A banner which bans celebrating Valentine

Saudi Arabia:

Brightlightz [1] posts a CNN report on Saudi Arabia banning all things red ahead of Valentine's.


Egyptian Sandmonkey [4] reacts to the news with a post entitled The Saudis are Cuckoo. He further explains:

Their religious police is banning red roses because they want to discourage people from celebrating Valentine's Day. Those damn sinners. Maybe now they will focus on their Rain Prayer.


Ammar [5] too isn't impressed with the Saudi crackdown on Valentine's and writes:

Last Valentine they banned all florists from selling red roses, but no goddamit they had to top it this year; so they went around and banned every single flower and gift shop from selling not only red roses, but ANYTHING red. Yup. If you wanted to buy a red box, for example? Well, tough. Want to wrap a gift in red? Nope. Want to just buy a red string? Nu uh, that ain't allowed either.

I have nothing for or against Valentine. I think it's a stupid occassion.. I ain't bothered. But to totally ban everything red ‘just in case’ some guy wants to buy his wife a flower? This ain't just about Valentine's day. This is about a bunch of retarded morons trying to impose rules that not only make for a really crappy quality of life, but end up causing half the problems that the youth of Saudi face today (who would otherwise grow up as really intelligent, hardworking people). Thanks for really screwing up Saudi, guys.

Still in Bahrain, Coolred38 [6] cannot maintain her cool when she writes:

I remember a few years back a fatwa was released from Saudi clerics that forbid giving flowers to sick patients in the hospitals…it was a western idea and had nothin to do with Islam or Muslims…geez…hoping someone will forget their health troubles for a moment and enjoy looking at some beautiful flowers is such a haram thing to do…Im surprised they even let flowers grow in Saudi…anybody could just….pick them for Gods sake and take them home to their sick mother….whats the world coming to when you deem it a good deed to present flowers(oh those evil little buggers) to a hear and dear one….I think more prayers are in order….away with flowers i say…they lead to all sorts of “good feelings”…and Muslims are forbidden to feel good…

if your feeling good…your probably doing something haram…you sicko!

Hayat [7] , also from Bahrain, adds her voice to the debate, saying that love is sacred – regardless of religion. She writes:

الحب هو الحياة و العاشقون هم الأحياء و الحب ليس بدعة .. الحب معجزة تتحدى الصعاب و نسيم يداعب الأرواح ..الحب شيء فوق المقدس و أبعد من الدين و أوضح من الحقيقة و ألطف من الخيال.. لا يحده شيء و لا يعبأ بمحظور… و لذلك انا ايضا لن اعبأ بأي دين يعادي اعياد الحب و محبة الجميع .. لن اعبأ بالمحظور و سأقول للجميع .. .. أحبوا بعضكم بعضا .. و تذوقوا طعم الحب
Love is life and lovers are alive. Love is not heresy. Love is a miracle which challenges difficulties and a breeze which tickles the spirit. Love is above sacredness and goes further than religion. It is clearer than reality and more soothing than imagination. You cannot limit love and there are no prohibitions in it. Therefore, I too, won't bother with any religion which wages a war against the celebrations which commemorate love and loving everyone. I will not bother myself with prohibitions and will tell everyone .. love each other and taste love.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, the celebrations went uninterrupted.


Magharebia [8] takes us to Tunisia and reports that love is in the air.

For Tunisians young and old, the Valentine's Day celebration of love and romance is growing increasingly popular. In preparation for the February 14th event, retailers fill display windows with red hearts, teddy bears and woollen cats of different colours to tempt shoppers, while store owners greet enthusiastic customers with phrases such as “love is the dearest thing in life” and “lovers’ satisfaction is our mission”.


Farah Mattar [9] announces to the world that she enjoys the feelings of love. She writes:

On a day when the profoundly intelligent mullas across the causeway are busy mangling red roses and hunting down hormonal, repressed girls in crimson, we have the liberties to enjoy the day known as Valentines Day. Now regardless of all the retarded emails of warning that I’m going to get today on “do you know what you are celebrating?” and the history of St. Valentine and what it really meant and how it is the end of Islamic civilization, if I give my husband a rose; in spite of all this stupidity, the overpriced balloons at Al Osra, and the Styrofoam hearts in restaurants, I think what today makes me think of, whether I like it or not, is love.


From Jordan, Qwaider [10] has advice to his female readers. He says:

Ladies… very simple questions …

1) Define your best Valentine's day event
2) Define your PERFECT gift.

Be as frank as you like


Qatar Cat [11], who lives in Dubai, introduces a Secret Love Calculator [11], to her amourous readers. She explains:

I am reintroducing my hugely successful Valentine day calculator again this year. All you have to do is click on the link, follow simple steps – and all your Valentine day dilemmas will be solved!
And even if you are not planning on giving a card this year, this might help you guess whether you will be getting one!


And last but not least, mersenne_twister [12] shares two Turkish songs celebrating love to mark the day.

Related Global Voices Online articles:

Palestine: Celebrating Valentine's Day

From Morocco, With Love [13]