Malaysia detains Muslim couples on Valentine’s Day

By Reuters Staff
February 15, 2011

valentineMalaysia’s religious police have detained 80 Muslims in hotels as part of a Valentine’s Day crackdown to prevent pre-marital sex, officials said. The arrests were made in the central state of Selangor where the Islamic Religious Department had warned Muslims during Friday sermons against observing the Western celebration as it could erode their faith.

The detained couples will be charged under the state’s Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment 1995. If found guilty, they will be fined 3,000 Malaysian ringgit ($983) or sentenced to two years jail. Another 61 Muslims were sent for counselling after the raids on Monday.

Islamic authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have been conducting raids on Valentine’s Day after an edict was issued in 2005 banning Muslims from celebrating the occasion.

In the photo by Bazuki Muhammad, Aimi Latif recites a prayer during the Anti-Valentine’s Day Campaign in Putrajaya outside Kuala Lumpur on February 11, 2011. In preparation for the day, Malaysia launched a campaign to raise awareness among Muslims that Valentine’s Day celebration was not a part of Islamic religious practice. The placard says “Beware the trap of Valentine’s Day.”

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