Over 80 Muslims arrested for celebrating Valentine’s Day in Malaysia

February 16th, 2011 - 12:11 am ICT by BNO News  

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (BNO NEWS) — More than 80 Muslims were detained in Malaysia during a Valentine’s Day operation carried out by the Islamic morality police, the Malaysia Star reported.

In Selangor alone, the state religious department rounded up 80 people for committing khalwat or close proximity, an Islamic law that prevents unmarried Muslims from being alone with someone of the opposite sex.

Another 61 people were also hauled up during the nine-hour operation for indecent behavior and had been enlisted for counseling sessions with the department, an official spokesman said.

The operation called Ops Valentine, which began on Sunday night and ended early Monday, involved officers from the local authorities and the National Anti-Drug Agency.

Officials visited recreational lakes and public parks in Selangor, and raided budget hotels. The Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department also conducted a similar operation in Kuala Lumpur, in which officers visited popular dating spots and also raided hotels.

A department spokesman said eight couples, aged between 20 and 50, were nabbed for khalwat. Those arrested could be jailed for up to two years if convicted.

Selangor’s Education, Higher Education and Human Resources Development committee chairman Dr Halimah Ali had said that the problem of illicit sex was becoming increasingly serious and named Valentine’s Day, Merdeka Day and New Year’s Eve as being the traditional days when couples met up and engaged in illicit sex.

In 2005, Malaysia’s Islamic authorities issued a fatwa to prevent Muslims from celebrating Valentine‚Äôs Day since it is associated with vice activities that are prohibited in Islam.

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