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Thu 14 Feb 2008 11:45 AM

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Kuwaiti MPs plan Valentine's Day ban

Kuwait to join Saudi Arabia in banning celebration, which it says contradicts Islamic teachings and values.

Valentine's Day celebrations that contradict Islamic teachings and values will be banned in Kuwait, government officials have warned.

Islamist MPs said they will investigate the possibility of amending existing laws to ban the celebration of Valentine's Day, Kuwait Times reported on Thursday.

A committee which monitors practices alien to Kuwaiti society met on Wednesday with representatives of several government ministries to study preventive measures, including monitoring hotels, restaurants and retailers that sell Valentine's Day items.

Committee head Waleed Al-Tabtabae said the ministries will take measures to prevent "indecent celebrations and practices", as well as any "immoral behaviour" that may happen on Valentine's Day.

Islamist MPs believe Western traditions like Valentine’s Day encourage illicit relationships, the newspaper said.

The government warning follows the banning of red roses by Saudi Arabia's religious police on Sunday.

Mutawwa, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, ordered florists and gift shop owners in the capital Riyadh to remove any items coloured scarlet, widely associated with romantic love.

Black market prices for roses have been already rising because of the ban, with the ban regularly enforced in recent years, the newspaper said.

Saudi authorities also consider Valentine's Day as un-Islamic, primarily for encouraging relations between men and women outside wedlock, an act 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.

Meanwhile, Dnata Cargo said it imported more than 40 tonnes of fresh flowers into Dubai during the first week of February, as the emirate prepared for the increasingly popular Valentine's Day celebration.

The flowers are imported into the UAE for Valentine’s Day from Kenya, Holland, Malaysia and Thailand using thermal blankets, electronic temperature probes and wireless technology to prevent damage from the extreme local weather.

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