Love is in the air across the Western world this Valentine’s Day – but the custom has few fans among conservatives in Indonesia, with a local district warning youngsters against celebrating the holiday.
Ade Yasin, the chief of Bogor district near Jakarta, said local youths should not follow their counterparts in the West, the news website Metropolitan.id reported on Thursday.
“Valentine’s Day celebrations are not part of our culture, so I call on the public not get involved in any activities related to Valentine’s Day,” Ade was quoted as saying.
The head of the Bogor Council of Muslim Scholars, Mukri Aji, said Valentine’s Day celebrations often promote promiscuity.
“What is wrong with it is pre-marital sex, prostitution and rampant LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] behaviour, which are violations of Islamic tenets,” he said.
He warned promiscuity could lead to diseases such as HIV/AIDS or unwanted pregnancies.
Sex out of marriage is seen as unacceptable by many in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.
Valentine’s Day celebrations were banned in several Indonesian cities last year.
But for Huzaemah Yanggo, the head of the fatwa division at the Indonesian Council of Muslim Scholars, Muslims are allowed to celebrate Valentine’s Day, as long as they do not engage in illicit behaviour.
“We as Muslims must show love and we don’t need Valentine’s Day to express our love, for example to our parents,” she said.
“But as long as it doesn’t violate religious teachings, it should be no problem to celebrate it,” she said.