Jakarta – The city administration of Banda Aceh in the conservative province of Aceh has barred residents from celebrating Valentine's Day, which falls on Feb. 14, on the grounds that it goes against Islamic teachings.
"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," Banda Aceh Mayor Aminullah Usman said on Tuesday.
Aminullah said he had signed and issued a circular on Monday urging youngsters in the city to refrain from taking part or carrying out any kind of activities in celebration of Valentine's Day.
He also asked hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues in Banda Aceh not to facilitate any events of such kind on Feb. 14.
"Aside from defying Islamic law and Acehnese culture, Valentine's Day also goes against Aceh's traditions," he said as quoted by news agency Antara.
Aceh is the only region in Muslim-majority Indonesia that imposes sharia, 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 Feb. 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 as quoted by tribunnews.com. (dpk)