TRAT, Thailand – Muslim and Hindu leaders in Asia are decrying the influence of Valentine’s Day, hoping to stamp out any hint of the holiday’s celebration by young lovers.
While perhaps seeming trivial to Westerners, it is a serious issue of cultural tension in this part of the world.
In the sultanate of Brunei, where elite British-trained Gurkhas from Nepal guard the world’s richest oil man, Valentine’s Day has been declared “a threat to Islam.”
Religious leaders in Brunei claim the “Christian practice” of Valentine’s Day could possibly “erode moral values, weaken the community and destroy Islam.”
Muslim clerics recently gave sermons in mosques around the nation warning of the holiday’s danger.
“We must remember that attempts by certain elements to weaken the ummah (community) and destroy Islam are continuing relentlessly,” one cleric said. “They will try every means and ways to weaken our ummah, especially the young generation, by inculcating their negative culture into our community, such as promoting Valentine’s Day.”
In Brunei, couples that are unmarried can be arrested for being in the same room together.
In India, Valentine’s Day cards have been banned in the city of Pune, outlawed by the fascistic Hindu nationalists. Hindu Party Shiv Sena and the radical Patit Pawan Sanghatana, or PPS, have been making the rounds on campuses in the city in search of couples daring to celebrate the holiday.
The PPS released a statement to the press saying it was monitoring many Indian colleges to make sure they “are not polluted by any vulgarity. Valentine’s Day celebrations should come to a stop.”
The party has suggested eliminating Valentine’s Day and re-establishing the traditional Hindu Basant Panchami, which historically involves writing love letters and poems from the heart.
Singapore, meanwhile, is promoting love – at least between man and dog. Trying to treat its animals better than neighboring Thailand, which often drowns female dogs, or South Korea, which often eats them, the nation has set up new restaurants where customers’ canines can sit down at tables and eat with their owners.