The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia – JAKIM) is launching an anti-Valentine’s Day PR campaign this Friday. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness among Muslims that Valentine’s Day celebrations are not part of Islamic religious practices.
The campaign will be launched during the Kenyataan Media JAKIM Berkenaan Bicarawara & Pelancaran Kempen Awas! Jerat Valentine’s Day symposium in Putrajaya Friday evening, at 8 pm. JAKIM invited a large audience to join the discourse, including students and members of the community. During the symposium, JAKIM will be distributing anti-Valentine’s Day fliers and stickers that can be used to spread the word about the Anti-Valentine’s Day campaign in campuses in the run up to the celebration on February 14.
The news caused a storm of comments from the Malaysian community active on social microblogging platform Twitter. Some consider the move a political decision, meant to gain more Islamic votes, others find it funny, and others consider it valuable:
LOL“@Aisehman: @weekasiongmp : “Moral policing on V Day early signs that PR govts starting to implement Islamic state policies” Jakim? LOL” – tweeted @jailanish
Okay girls, no roses for all of you on valentines day – since jakim wants to establish an anti-valentines campaign, – said @fiqqymickey
*Pengsan* Things going overboard now… RT @staronline: Jakim launching anti-Valentine’s Day campaign http://bit.ly/f5NoqM, – @sunitaphilips
and @weiwei16 wondered: Oh dear Valentine, what mistake that you have done? Dear JAKIM wants to launch anti-Valentine’s Day campaign. http://bit.ly/dNvuEX
And while we understand that Valentine’s Day is not part of Islamic religious practices, we think that the Muslims in Malaysia and elsewhere have the right to choose what they want to celebrate, and that the government should not interfere with these liberties. The campaign resembles too much propaganda – besides, Valentine’s Day celebrations are not necessarily religious. What’s the harm in giving someone a bunch of flowers and candy? What do you think?