Valentine’s Day has been banned from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The nation’s high court in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital city, ruled Monday that the country’s citizens must refrain from celebrating the holiday “with immediate effect.”
A citizen petition made its way to the superior court one day before the holiday commences. Abdul Waheed, who drafted the document, claimed Valentine’s Day is “against the teachings of Islam and should be banned immediately,” CNN reports. The court concurred with Waheed, claiming the holiday clashes with Muslim life. The Islamabad High Court ruled that the festivities are actually a “cover” to spread “immorality, nudity, and indecency… which is against our rich traditions and values.”
Valentine’s Day has become increasingly popular among Pakistani youth and has acted as a boon for florists and business owners. However, Islamist leaders feel the society at large has been placed under direct attack with the embrace of the Western holiday, and print and electronic media in the country have been warned about promoting the holiday’s events and activities.
In February 2016, Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain added his voice to the masses calling for the ban. Hussain stated, “Valentine’s Day has no connection to our culture and it should be avoided.”
Jamaat-e-Islami, a hardline Islamist group with millions of followers, has led the effort to protect Pakistan against parts of the country that “wants to impose Western values and culture on our youth by celebrating Valentine’s day,” according to an anti-Valentine’s Day resolution passed last year in Peshawar. “There is no place in our culture and in our civilization for such an unnecessary and rude day, which aims to spread vulgarity and indecency amongst the youth,” the resolution continued.
Pakistan’s Islamic traditions have created an environment that is extremely hostile to religious freedom and basic human rights. For example, identifying or being revealed as a homosexual in Pakistan can result in long-term imprisonment, and the state is also notorious for discriminating against religious minorities.
Pakistan does not have anything remotely resembling free speech. Criticizing Islam or Muhammad can result in punishments ranging from a harsh fine to a death sentence. The majority of Pakistanis support the state’s blasphemy laws. (For more from the author of “Shot Through the Heart: Pakistan Bans Valentine’s Day Because It’s Not Islamic” please click HERE)