PUTRAJAYA: Islam has never rejected the good things brought by the Western world, including in matters concerning love and the way of showing our love to others, said Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz.
"We accept and celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day, for example, to commemorate our love for our parents.
"At the same time, however, Islam would reject anything, even from the Eastern culture, if it contravenes the Islamic teachings," he said when launching the 'Mind the Valentine's Day Trap' campaign here.
He said Islam was not opposing the celebration of love, but vice activities that usually took place during the celebration.
"That is why a fatwa (edict) was issued to prevent and advise Muslims not to celebrate Valentine's Day because in reality, as well as historically, the celebration of Valentine's Day is synonymous with vice activities," he said.
The fatwa, issued by the National Fatwa Council during its 71st conference almost six years ago, stated: "The spirit of Valentine's Day celebrations is associated with elements of Christianity and vice activities that are prohibited in Islam."
Wan Mohamad said the explanation on this matter was vital to ensure that Islam would not be defamed as opposing all festivals and celebrations of other religions like Christmas Day, Deepavali, Chinese New Year, Gawai and the like.
"We just cannot get involved with other religion's worshipping rituals. In a social event, we can always join the non-Muslims, no problem.
"Our leaders also attend such an event. Even the muftis attended tea parties organised by their neighbours celebrating Christmas," he said.
The 'Mind the Valentine's Day Trap' campaign is aimed at preventing Muslims, especially teenagers, from celebrating Valentine's Day which falls on Feb 14.
He was responding to concerns from the Christian community that the edict had erred when it referred to Valentine’s Day as a Christian observance.
“To suggest that Valentine’s Day is observed by Christians is unfair and misleading.
"Valentine’s Day is a secular observance that is not celebrated religiously by churches in Malaysia or worldwide," said Council of Churches of Malaysia general secretary Reverend Dr Herman Shastri. - theStarOnline