Aceh Teens Reject Valentine’s Day

Students hold banner during a rally to protest celebrating Valentine's Day - ABDUL MUNAR PHOTO
Banda Aceh, TAG – A rally held by dozens of the Acehnese teens to protest celebrating the Valentine’s Day in the provincial capital Banda Aceh Tuesday because it’s not allowed in Islam and against the Shariah law implementing in the Indonesia staunchly Muslim region.

Some 50 students of a well-known Senior High School (SMA) 3 Banda Aceh turned to the street in Banda Aceh’s downtown’s Simpang Lima. The teens protesters handing out hundreds plastic flowers, more than 2,500 leaflets and brochures telling of Valentine’s history to the passers.
“Valentine is not our culture, it’s against the values of Islam,” Thariq Miswary, a coordinator of rally said. He urged Acehnese teenagers not to celebrate the Valentine’s Day because it does not accord with the Shariah.
“It’s a Western culture. We call all Acehnese young generation not to celebrate Valentine because it against our culture,” a 17-year old of second class student said.
Zela Ulfa Wulanda, another teen who took part on the rally that got attention said love should not necessarily specified day on February 14, however every day and time for humans beings to love each other with some rules stipulated in the Islamic Shariah.
“Valentine’s Day is identically with the death of a Christian priest named Saint Valentine who sacrificed himself for his lover,” Zela said.
Wardaturriqa, another student mentioned that Aceh is a Shariah region in the country that should be respected by all Muslims in the province. “The Shariah must be fully implemented in Aceh. Nowadays some Acehnese don’t care their Islamic cultures, so want to participate telling Aceh young generation not to celebrate the Valentine’s Day,” she said.
In some part of the capital, however some teenagers celebrated the Valentine’s Day to express their love by presenting chocolates and sending pinky greeting cards.
A shopkeeper in outskirt of Banda Aceh said that hundreds teenagers bought chocolates in her shop. “They admitted they want to give a special present to their friends,” she said.
Last week, two ulemas warned the teenagers no celebrating Valentine’s Day because it’s not allowed in Islam and against the Shariah law. “It’s totally banned and haram (forbidden) for Muslims to celebrate Valentine’s Day because it’s a Christian’s tradition and does not accord with Islamic Shariah,” Tgk. Faisal Ali, the chairman of Aceh chapter of Nahdlatul Ulema – the largest’s Islamic organization in the country, said.
“Therefore, Islam’s young generation must not participate in celebration of a western festivity because we have our own traditions to celebrate based on the Shariah,” Faisal said.
Tgk. Muslim Ibrahim, head of the province’s Consultative Assembly of Ulema (MPU) and a professor at the provincial capital Banda Aceh's Ar-Raniry State Islamic Institute (IAIN), mentioned that celebrating Valentine’s Day is sinful and forbidden for all Muslims.
“This celebrating comes from Christian and has no legal basis in the Islamic Shariah law,” he said. “So, taking part in celebrating the day of love is haram for all Muslim.”
Muslim said Valentine’s Day went against the Islamic teaching and values and was used to overly express love to someone of the opposite sex. Based on his study, in Valentine’s Day, someone celebrating it can express their love freely to each other, something that against the Shariah.
Aceh is the only province in Indonesia adopted a partial Shariah law in 2001 as a part of regional autonomy offered to help quell separatist sentiment. The province’s autonomous status made possible its legislature’s decision to pass laws legalizing corporal punishments, such as caning.[]
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