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Monday, March 08, 2010

A Valentine's Day Virus

A Valentine’s Day Virus

By Deborah Weiss February 17, 2010
Published by the American Security Council Foundation

Every year Islamic extremists do all they can to suppress the expression of love and affection on Valentine’s day. Imams and Religious Police around the globe condemn the holiday, calling it “un-Islamic.” Some Muslim countries ban the holiday, making its celebration illegal.

Saudi Arabia is one of those countries. There, it is illegal to wear red clothes, buy or sell red roses, give candy or heart-shaped gifts, or hold hands with your spouse in public on Valentine’s Day. Beginning one week prior to the holiday, the Religious Police issued warnings instructing stores to rid their shelves of the forbidden sales items and decorations. On February 14th, stores were subject to inspection. Anyone caught in violation of the law was subject to arrest and punishment.

For those daring enough to risk jail or worse in order to make a profit, the underground market for verboten items was drastically inflated. Contraband is expensive. Red roses, normally costing 5 riyals each ($1.30), sold for 30 riyals on Valentine’s Day.

Saudi Arabia is governed by Shariah law (Islamic law). It is a theocracy without separation of mosque and state. Its religious ideology precludes the mixing of men and women who are not married. It prohibits women from driving, attending college, or getting surgery without permission from a close male relative. Adulterers are stoned, and those caught stealing are subject to amputation of the right hand. Saudi Arabia is devoid of religious freedom except for those who adhere to Wahabbist ideology.

In Pakistan, Lahore University, a private sector college, has started to implement extremist policies by imposing a campus ban on Valentine’s Day. Students at Lahore wanted to celebrate the holiday by having cake, wearing colorful clothes and having mixed-gender gatherings on Saturday, February 13th (since the school was closed on Sunday.) But, the school administration forbade it.

In protest for the freedom to celebrate Valentine’s Day, many students gathered at the overhead bridge outside the university. University employees responded by forcing the girls back into the school, threatening to expel them from college if they did not return to the university premises.

The school also stationed guards and teachers at the university’s main gate to search student bags for Valentine’s Day gifts. Female students were interrogated about any plans to spend a romantic day with their boyfriends.

Students charged the university with following the policies of Islami Jamiat Talibat (IJT), an extremist group that launched a city-wide campaign against Valentine’s Day celebrations. IJT criticized Valentine’s Day as being “a shameful day”. The university colluded with IJT by permitting the group to promote its anti-Valentine’s Day agenda by placing posters all over campus and instructing students to refrain from celebrating. The university even threatened to take action against any student caught extolling the holiday.

In Malaysia, though there are no laws banning Valentine’s Day, religious officials urged couples to shun the holiday because Saint Valentine was a Christian and “romantic revelries might prompt impure behavior.” One Muslim lawmaker suspected that “unmarried couples might come together and mingle with each other in unacceptable ways.” Spiritual leaders expressed concern that couples might not stop at giving greetings and gifts, but would “go beyond the limit” and “engage in promiscuous activities.”

Iran’s morality police ordered shops to remove hearts, flowers, and decorations including pictures of couples embracing. In Kuwait, Valentine’s Day is legal. Never-the-less, Islamic extremists condemned it, proclaiming that it promotes immorality and contradicts Islam’s religious values and teachings. And last year, an Islamic cleric warned Muslim youth that Valentine’s Day constitutes a virus “more dangerous than AIDS, Ebola, and cholera.”

Those in the Free World should be grateful that they have the liberty to openly express love and affection, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year. Let’s hope and pray that the Valentine’s Day virus of love has infected extremist ideology and spreads quickly through-out Middle East. __________________________________________________________________________________ Deborah Weiss, Esq. is a regular contributor to the American Security Council Foundation and FrontPage Magazine. She lobbies for and delivers speeches on Political Islam’s Assault on Free Speech.

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