3. Valentine’s Day
Many Muslim clerics consider Valentine’s Day to be an unholy invention by the West to promote premarital sex and general debauchery. Several Muslim groups have staged protests against the holiday, which is heavily criticized or outright banned throughout several Arab countries.
In 2014, a Valentine’s Day celebration at a Pakistani university was met with rocks and gunfire from a group of students who viewed it as “un-Islamic.” Clashes broke out and dorm rooms were set on fire. That year in Malaysia, 80 people were arrested by morality police after authorities raided hotels where unmarried couples were sharing rooms on the holiday.
Saudi Arabia bans Valentine’s Day. In 2014, five men were sentenced to 4,500 lashes and 32 years in prison for drinking and dancing with “unrelated women” on the holiday.
Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia houses a black market for Valentine’s Day gifts. Shop owners have reported hiding flowers in backrooms and taking discrete orders over the phone. Some even hire lookouts to keep an eye out for authorities.