THE SAUDI NOOSE
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Saudi warns public against New Year celebration
Emirates 24/7: Saudi Arabia has warned the public against staging New Year celebrations and said shops which sell any items symbolizing the occasion would be punished, the Arabic language daily Okaz said on Sunday.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most feared Islamic law enforcement body in the Gulf Kingdom, said it would deploy its members across the country to prevent public celebrations on New Year.
But the Commission said its members would not raid houses, adding that it is meant only by festivities that are staged in public.
“We do not know what is going inside homes and we are not meant with monitoring homes,” the Commission said in a statement. “The responsibility of our men will be confined to controlling and preventing celebrations in public places or calls for such celebrations.”
The statement warned all shops against selling adornment items that “symbolize or reflect” New Year festivities, adding that violators would be punished in accordance with the law and that their items would be impounded.
According to Okaz, authorities in Saudi Arabia, one of the most conservative Muslim nations, also banned the import of any New Year items through its ports.