Valentine’s Day has been banned in an Indonesian city to ‘maintain the purity of Islamic values.’
Young couples in Banda Aceh have been told they will be ‘defying Islamic law’ if they celebrate the romantic occasion tomorrow and hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues have been warned against hosting any events.
City mayor Aminullah Usman said: ‘To maintain the purity of Islamic values and strengthen Islamic laws, we would like to inform the public that Valentine’s Day goes against Islamic law and is not a part of Aceh’s culture.’
The mayor said he had signed and issued a circular on Monday urging youngsters in the city to refrain from taking part in any kind of activities in celebration of Valentine’s Day.
He told the news agency Antara: ‘Aside from defying Islamic law and Acehnese culture, Valentine’s Day also goes against Aceh’s traditions.’
The city, which has a population of around 270,000, is the capital of Aceh province on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.
Aceh is the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia that imposes Sharia law, which stipulates flogging as a punishment for crimes related to Islamic morality, such as adultery, gambling as well as gay and premarital sex.
The Bandung Education Agency in West Java issued a similar circular on Monday prohibiting elementary and junior high school students in the city from celebrating Valentine’s Day.
Bandung Education Agency secretary Cucu Saputra said the prohibition had been in place for a few years to prevent students from engaging in improper activities on February 14.
He also expressed his belief that celebrating Valentine’s Day was against the norms and culture of Indonesia.
‘Valentine’s Day is not a part of our culture and goes against the religious norms,’ Cucu said on Wednesday.