Indonesians told 'reject Valentine’s'

Fears that teenagers might have pre-maritial sex have lead to calls in Indonesia for Muslims not to celebrate Valentine's Day on Thursday.

A group of Muslim students hold banners that read "Say No To Valentine's Day" at a rally that urges people to refuse Valentine's Day, in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on Feb 13, 2011. Valentine's Day is considered as a western culture that is incompatible with Islam. EPA/HOTLI SIMANJUNTAK

The deputy mayor of Depok in West Java has called on parents in the city to tell their children not to celebrate the "day of love"  and instead concentrate on more religious activities.

Idrus Abdul Somad said that parents should take their children to Islamic events on Valentine's Day, such as celebrating the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. 

“Those who love the disciple are good people,” Mr Idrus was reported to have said on Tuesday, according to the Jakarta Globe.

“Many people translate Valentine's Day as expressing [love] to their lover.

“Therefore please forbid your children from celebrating Valentine's Day.”

The secretary of the Depok chapter of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Islamic organisation, also called on Muslims to not celebrate the day. 

“Valentine's Day is often misunderstood by teenagers as the moment to express love and affection which ends up to a sex party,” Raden Salamun Adiningrat said.

Dozens of youth from the Gempita Indonesian Young Counsellor Association rallied against the celebration of Valentine's Day in Serang in Banten province, West Java on Tuesday. 

The protestors collected 1,000 signatures from students opposed to Valentine’s Day.

They said that the celebration is a chance for students to misuse the day to have sex. 

“We firmly reject Valentine's Day,” Taufik El-Bantani, coordinator of the rally, said.

“We are really concerned because one out of four teenagers in Indonesia commit to premarital sex. That proves 62.7% of female teenagers have lost their virginity. 

“On Feb 14, which is known as Valentine's Day, we advise teenagers not to celebrate it, because many teenagers have sex during that day.”

Last year the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), the country’s highest Islamic authority, declared that celebrating Valentine's Day was haram, or forbidden, under Islam.

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