Valentine’s Day: Yet another conspiracy!

Valentine’s Day is not important to me, irrelevant in fact and my girlfriend does not complain about it. I suppose that in order to ascribe a particular meaning and feeling to it, I should probably have grown up with it, which I haven’t since it is a relatively new tradition in Denmark. A strong factor explaining the rise of Valentine’s Day, I think it is safe to say, is the commercial value to be had by sellers of flowers, greeting cards and chocolate. But to call it a conspiracy probably is to go overboard. An example of going way overboard is reported by Patung at Indonesia Matters:

Whether Valentine’s Day is a Jewish conspiracy.

– West Sumatra

Buya Mas’oed Abidin, the chairman of the West Sumatra branch of the Indonesian Clerics’ Council (Majelis Ulama Indonesia, MUI) complained on 12th February that the celebration of Valentine’s Day was proof that Indonesia was more and more subject to foreign, global culture.

We have to stop it, it’s not appropriate in our culture.

The celebration of lover’s day was proof that the youth of today had lost their love for Indonesia and its culture, he said.

In the original Republika report there is also mention that Valentine’s Day, celebrated on 14th February by young people worldwide, is a capitalist-Jewish conspiracy, although it is not entirely clear whether this is an editorial statement, or Buya Mas’oed Abidin’s opinion, probably the latter.

Buya Mas’oed Abidin is then quoted:

Parents, teachers, and Islamic organisations have to urge young people not to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The effort to stop the celebration was very important because of all the natural disasters that Indonesia had suffered recently, like floods, tsunamis and earthquakes, he said. Rises in the prices of basic goods were also connected, he seemed to suggest.

As a solution he recommended that the national government establish Hari Sumpah Pemuda (Youth Pledge Day, 28th October) as a day of young love, to replace Valentine’s Day, considering that the original oath swearers of 1928 had much love for their country. [1]

Meanwhile in the West Sumatra town of Bukittinggi the mayor, Ismet Amzis, said on 13th February that celebrating Valentine’s was illegal, based on a pre-existing local anti-sin law (Peraturan Daerah tentang Pemberantasan Maksiat).

It’s not part of our culture, it’s very close to sin, people hug and kiss on Valentine’s Day, that is sinful.

One hundred public order officers will patrol the streets of Bukittinggi on Valentine’s Day looking for couples walking together. They will also raid hotels.

Hotels and restaurants are also forbidden from holding any special programs or offers for Valentine’s Day.

The city government has already instructed schools to direct their pupils to the mosque on 14th February, and has informed mosque preachers to prepare special sermons for teenagers.

The mayor also said that in future New Year’s Eve celebrations would also be banned, because they encouraged people to commit sin. Bukittinggi was known as a tourist destination, but: [2]

It’s better to not have tourists than have sinful things going on.

– North Sumatra

Buya Mas’oed Abidin’s counterpart in North Sumatra, Abdullah Syah, said on 13th February that the MUI had ruled that celebrating Valentine’s Day was haram or “taboo” for Muslims in the province.

It’s against the principles of Islam.

He also said it was a product of foreign culture, and was strictly forbidden. [3]

↑1 republika
↑2 tempo
↑3 republika

There is a long list of posts in the comments section also.

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