JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesian officials and Muslim clerics have called for young people to skip Valentine’s Day, saying it’s an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex.
Idris Abdul Somad, deputy mayor of Depok, a town on the outskirts of Jakarta, said Thursday that many teenagers use the Western holiday as a time to express their love, which often leads to premarital sex.
He called on residents to instead take their children to Islamic religious activities.
Meanwhile, hundreds of students in Jambi, on Sumatra island, and Solo, in Central Java, held Valentine’s Day protests Wednesday. Muslim clerics urged youngsters to avoid celebrations in several cities in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Indonesia’s 200 million Muslims practice a moderate form of faith. Attitudes toward Valentine’s Day vary in the Muslim world.