Mosul (Agenzia Fides) – In the days leading up to February 14, St Valentine's Day, Service Utility Vehicles and pick-ups driven by IS jihadist activists patrolled the town’s busiest market and shopping areas using megaphones to remind vendors of the ban on the sale of gadgets and gifts for the day of the patron saint of lovers marked the world over. This was reported on a local website ankawa.com. Blaring loudspeakers repeated slogans prohibiting the exchange of gifts connected with the “infidel Christian” holiday to commemorate Italian born Bishop St Valentine, warning vendors and shopkeepers not to display or sell the traditional red coloured gifts typical of the day.
In Mosul last year around Valentine’s Day several shopkeepers were reprimanded by armed gunmen for showing and selling the eye catching red hearts and red teddy bears which fiancées are known to give one another on “their” Day. Public warnings against celebrations for Valentine’s Day – which in recent years has become increasingly popular among young Arabs, regardless of their religion,– were issued only by some radical Islamist preachers in certain mosques. Now “anti-S. Valentino patrols” are part of the restrictions imposed on the people by IS jihadists who took the city last June 9. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 16/2/2015).