Indonesia: Clerics ban Valentine's Day

Publication Date: 
February 10, 2011
The Jakarta Globe

The Indonesia Council of Ulema has made its annual — and regularly ignored — call for Muslims to avoid celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day on Monday.

Roza’i Akbar, head of the Dumai, Riau, branch of the council, also known as MUI, said Valentine’s Day — an annual celebration of love — was a Western occasion and not permitted (haram) under Islam.

Roza’i said the celebration was inappropriate as it was identified with pre-marital relationships among teenagers.

“What would happen if Valentine’s Day became part of the culture of Islam? This is our consideration as to why the celebration is haram for Muslims,” he said.

The celebration remains hugely popular in Indonesia, particularly the urban centers, with restaurants and bars doing a roaring trade.

Roza’i advised Muslim parents to teach their children that Valentine’s was not something to be celebrated.

Last year, MUI, in banning celebrations, said celebrating Valentine’s Day was tantamount to spreading Christianity.