Valentine’s Day celebration in Indonesia earns protest, Muslim groups urge youth not to celebrate

By on Feb 14, 2013 in Asia, Lifestyle Comments

Today, Thursday, February 14, 2013, is Valentine’s Day, but its celebration is not receiving a warm welcome in Indonesia. Protests were held to show their strong opposition against the annual celebration for lovers, and the local government is urging the youth not to celebrate, noting that its meaning may be misinterpreted.

Valentines Day Indonesia protest

Indonesia protester on Valentines Day 2011
Image Credit: Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA

According to Jakarta Globe this Wednesday, Idrus Abdul Somad, the Deputy Mayor of Depok, a city in West Java province, called on his constituents, particularly the youth, not to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Instead, parents are being strongly advised to bring their children to various religious activities.

“Many people translate Valentine’s Day as expressing [love] to their lover. Therefore please forbid your children from celebrating Valentine’s Day. Those who love the disciple are good people,” Somad was quoted as saying, adding that some teens used the holiday to be engaged in premarital sɛx.

Meanwhile, Raden Salamun Adiningrat, the secretary of the Depok chapter of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia‘s largest Islamic organization, also urged his fellow Muslims not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, emphasizing that a lot of teenagers misunderstood the celebration and spend the holiday with a sɛx party.

Likewise, members of the Gempita Indonesian Young Counsellor Association also protested on Wednesday in Serang in the Banten province. The group has reportedly collected 1,000 signatures from students and teenagers who are not in favor of celebrating Valentine’s Day. Protests were also held in Sumatra and Central Java.

Indonesia, despite being not an Islamic country, is noted to be the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, with the 2010 census report saying that 87.2% of Indonesians are Muslims. On the other hand, Valentine’s Day is being dubbed as a Christian celebration of love, next to Christmas Day.

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