In Malaysia, Islamic authorities remind Muslim students not to celebrate Valentine's Day

KUALA LUMPUR - Ahead of Valentine's Day, the Selangor Islamic authorities are on a drive to remind Muslim youth about a religious edict, or fatwa, forbidding them from celebrating the occasion.

State mufti chief assistant Mat Jais Kamos said the authorities did not want Muslim youth to get caught up in Valentine's Day.

"The celebration emphasises the relationship between two individuals rather than the love between family members or married couples," the New Straits Times quoted him as saying as department officials distributed leaflets outside a Shah Alam secondary school to remind Muslims of the 2006 ruling issued by the state fatwa council.

Some students were caught by surprise by the pink-coloured leaflets titled "Hukum Valentine's Day" (Valentine's Day guidelines), Malaysia Insider reported.

The leaflets caused much amusement among the students, who giggled after receiving them.

Most said they were aware of the ban against taking part in Valentine's Day-related celebrations and the reasons behind it.

Mohd Ibrahim Faiq Hussein, 17, who was surprised by the officials' presence, said he never celebrated Valentine's Day.

"I think most of us have been taught in class about why celebrating Valentine's Day is considered haram.

"Seeing them (the officials) talking to students about it was unexpected."

Nadia Amyra Azirudyn, 16, said she did not see the relevance of the campaign as most of her Muslim friends did not celebrate Valentine's Day.

"I suppose this campaign is helpful to those who want to know why we should not take part."

Suhaidi Subeli, 16, said the campaign could be more effective if religious ceramah or special classes were held on the subject.

He added that Valentine's Day was usually celebrated among non-Muslim students at the school.

The leaflets will be distributed to students at Universiti Teknologi Mara here as well, according to Malaysia Insider.

This is not the first time the Islamic authorities in Malaysia had embarked on a campaign against Muslims celebrating Valentine's Day.

Last year, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), with about 250 volunteers from various non-governmental organisations, launched a "Mind the Valentine's Day Trap" campaign in Kuala Lumpur.

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