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Published: Friday February 11, 2011 MYT 4:40:00 PMUpdated: Friday February 11, 2011 MYT 8:12:13 PM
PETALING JAYA: Valentine’s Day is a secular observance that is not celebrated religiously by churches in Malaysia or worldwide, said the Council of Churches of Malaysia.
Its general secretary Reverend Dr Herman Shastri said the National Fatwa Council had erred when it referred to Valentine’s Day as a Christian observance and has hurt the feelings of Christians in Malaysia.
“To suggest that Valentine’s Day is observed by Christians is unfair and misleading.
“Although the word ‘Valentine’ draws some connection to St Valentine, the church’s authorities have not endorsed the connection, be it Roman Catholic or Protestant,” he said in a statement in reference to an article on Valentine's Day posted on the website of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim).
The website described Valentine's Day as: “The practice of celebrating the day of love (Valentine’s Day) has not been recommended by Islam. (The) spirit (of the) festival has elements of Christianity and the practice is mixed with immoral acts (and) are prohibited by Islam that clearly contradicts the belief, Sharia and Islamic morality. Therefore, Muslims are prohibited from engaging in celebrating the day.”
Dr Shastri said the council appealed to the authorities to repeal such hurting inferences that Christianity promotes sexual promiscuity because of Valentine’s Day observance, often made in the media and in the said Fatwa.
Christian Federation of Malaysia chairman Bishop Ng Moon Hing said Christians in Malaysia were hurt by statements linking Valentine’s Day to sin and Christianity.
Ng said statements with a tendency to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility against any particular religious community should not be tolerated.
On Wednesday, PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi was quoted as saying that the Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor governments had directed all local authorities to work closely with police and Rela in order to carry out operations to check immoral activities during Valentine’s Day.
On Thursday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom said the National Fatwa Council had, in 2005, decreed that Muslims should refrain from celebrating Valentine’s Day, as it was not part of Islamic practices.
He added the Jakim would launch an anti-Valentine’s Day campaign on Friday.
Well-known motivator Siti Nor Bahyah Mahamood had also commented on Valentine's Day saying "immoral activities, partying and unmarried couples associating in private are traditions of the Christian community".
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