Saudi cleric says Valentine’s Day is ‘positive event’

Reuters: A prominent Saudi cleric endorsed Valentine’s Day, long forbidden in the ultra-conservative kingdom, calling it a “positive social event” that was not linked to religion.

Sheikh Ahmad al-Ghamdi, the former head of the Mecca region’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, said in an interview with Arab News that Muslims could celebrate love on Feb. 14.

“Celebrating Valentine’s Day does not contradict Islamic teachings as it is a worldly, social matter just like celebrating the National Day and Mother’s Day,” he said.

“It is a positive social event and congratulating people for it is not against sharia (law),” Ghamdi told Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television.

Florists said they easily sold red roses and bouquets on Wednesday and Thursday without getting into trouble.

“I didn’t expect this,” one flower seller laughed. “It’s not like past years, people are comfortable buying (red flowers).”