[QODLink]
Middle East

Saudi 'mutawa' warn against New Year revelry

Religious police in country following Muslim lunar calendar warn residents against celebrating the turn of the year.

Last updated: 29 Dec 2013 19:41
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Saudi Arabia follows the Muslim lunar calendar, unlike all other Gulf states that use the Gregorian calendar [AP]

Saudi Arabia's religious police has warned against celebrating New Year's Eve in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom, the local Okaz daily reported.

The Commission of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, known unofficially as mutawa, based its warning on a religious edict from the top committee of Saudi clerics banning such celebrations, the newspaper said on Sunday.

The Commission also warned Saudi gift shops not to sell any merchandise, including flowers and dolls.

Saudi Arabia follows the Muslim lunar calendar, unlike all other Gulf states that use the Gregorian calendar.

Members of the commission enforce the kingdom's rule of strict segregation between sexes. They also go around shops to make sure they are shuttered during prayer times.

The religious police have been accused of abusing their powers. But since January last year, they have become more discreet with the appointment of their new chief, cleric Abdulatif bin Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, who banned the use of unmarked cars.

Mutawa also traditionally banned the sale of red roses and gifts for Valentine's Day on February 14.

The warning against celebrations stood in stark contrast to preparations for New Year's in Dubai in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates.

Dubai has promised to celebrate the night with a record-breaking extravaganza featuring more than 400,000 fireworks,

The emirate vowed to "break the Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Firework Display’," a government statement said.

The six-minute show was to feature more than 400,000 colourful fireworks, the statement said.

238

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.