Hardliners frown on Valentine's Day celebrations
Banda Aceh, 14 Feb.(AKI) – Young Muslims in some parts of Indonesia will be finding it tricky to say ‘I love you’ with a Valentines Day card on Thursday. Conservative Muslims are out in force against the celebration, which they are labelling as sinful.
In Banda Aceh, the capital of Muslim-devout Aceh, the only province where the Islamic Sharia legal code is in place, young people say they will celebrate quietly, as their parents disapprove.
“I will exchange a card with my boyfriend and I probably receive some chocolates. But that is as far as the celebration will go as my parents are against it,” 19-year old Ari told Adnkronos International (AKI).
Ari, who like most Indonesians are just one name, said her parents “were listening to the local religious leaders who labelled Valentines Day as haram,” or forbidden under Islam.
“It is difficult to make them change their minds,” she added, while her friends nodded in agreement.
Aceh is not the only province where conservative Muslims have taken a hard-line against the day of lovers.
The chairman of the West Sumatra branch of the Indonesian Clerics Council (MUI) Haj Mas'oed Abidin, for example, told local Muslims to boycott Valentine’s Day because it has nothing to do with the Islamic religion.
"Such tradition should be stopped, because it doesn't correspond with our tradition," said Abidin, as quoted by Indonesia daily ‘Republika.’
Meanwhile, in the normally sleepy town of Sukabumi, West Java, the MUI's branch was stormed by Muslim Students Union (MHI) who demanded that the organisation forbid local youths to celebrate Valentine's Day.
MHI coordinator, Ferry Gustaman, reiterated that the celebration is incompatible with Sharia law and even suggested that it promotes premarital sex and drug use.
"Valentine's day is nothing more than masquerade for youth to do things which are forbidden by Islam," he said.
1) Hardliners frown on Valentine's Day celebrations