Greater Aceh regent bans Valentine’s Day celebrations, again

CNN Indonesia – February 9, 2020
Greater Aceh Regent Mawardi Ali – Undated (Kanal Aceh)

Aceh Besar – The Greater Aceh regency government in Aceh province has again banned people from celebrating Valentine’s Day because it is deemed to conflict with Syariat Islam (Islamic law).

Greater Aceh Regent Mawardi Ali in a letter numbered 451/459/2020 which has been circulated to all village, sub-district and school heads explained that the government has strictly banned any celebration of Valentine’s Day because it conflicts with Islamic law.

According to Ali, Valentine’s Day also conflicts with Aceh qanun (bylaw) Number 11/2002 on the Implementation of Islamic Law in Islamic Teachings, Worship and Obligations.

“Valentine’s Day is a culture which conflicts with Syariat Islam. So it is legally forbidden [under Islamic law] to celebrate it”, wrote Ali in the letter.

He also asked the public to report to Greater Aceh Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officials and the Wilayatul Hisbah (WH, Islamic police) if they find anyone holding celebrations on February 14.

“We appeal to all teachers and or parental guardians to supervise students so they don’t celebrate it”, said Ali.

In addition to this, continued Ali, hotel owners are also prohibited from providing venues for Valentine’s Day celebrations. He has also appealed to all ustadz (Islamic teachers) and religious figures to give sermons on the dangers of Valentine’s Day.

Greater Aceh Public Relations and Protocol Regency Secretariat Head Muhajir has confirmed the letter banning Valentine’s Day celebrations signed by the Greater Aceh regent.

“That’s correct. We’ll pass the appeal on to the public through mosques which will be conveyed in sermons and also by village and sub-district heads, as well as school teachers so that they can make an appeal to students”, he said when sought for confirmation on Saturday January 8.

The reason for the ban, he said, was because Valentine’s Day is not in accordance with the culture and traditions of Aceh. Nevertheless, there will not be any sanctions for those to violate the regulation. Those who are caught however will be given guidance then handed over to the violator’s parents.

“Later there will also be patrols by the Greater Aceh Satpol PP and Wilayatul Hisbah who will cooperate with the Muspika [sub-district consultative councils] patrol the Greater Aceh area”, he said.

Prohibitions on the day of romance have become an annual routine since Ali became the regent of Greater Aceh in 2017. (dra/arh)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Bupati Aceh Besar Kembali Larang Warga Rayakan Hari Valentine”.]