KUALA LUMPUR, Sunday
As couples around the world mark Valentine’s Day, Islamic officials in Malaysia have warned Muslims against celebrating something “synonymous with vice activities”.
The warning follows plans announced last week by several Malaysian states who are planning a crackdown on “immoral acts” during Valentine’s Day as part of a campaign to encourage a sin-free lifestyle.
“In reality, as well as historically, the celebration of Valentine’s Day is synonymous with vice activities,” Mr Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, head of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM), which oversees the country’s Islamic policies, told state media.
“Islam would reject anything, even from the Eastern culture, if it contravenes the Islamic teachings,” he added. Wan Mohamad said a fatwa (ruling) issued by the country’s top clerics six years ago noted the day “is associated with elements of Christianity,” and “we just cannot get involved with other religion’s worshipping rituals.”
JAKIM officials will carry out a nationwide ‘Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap’ campaign, he said, aimed at preventing Muslims from celebrating the day.
Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi, head of the Islamic party PAS’s youth wing said Wednesday that authorities in the opposition-controlled northern states of Kedah, Penang and Kelantan as well as central Selangor state will also carry out “immorality checks” on February 14.
PAS is part of the opposition alliance that won control of the four states in 2008 elections.