Mariam Mokhtar writes :
Being a Muslim in Malaysia is very confusing. Malaysians are already hampered by sexism, racism, religious intolerance and the class society but Malaysian Muslims have another discrimination they have to live with: Ageism.
In the runup to the Valentine's Day week, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) launched a special campaign dubbed “Mind the Valentine's Day Trap Campaign” to prevent Muslims, especially teenagers, from celebrating the event that falls on 14 February.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Jamil Khir Baharom said the programme was aimed at disseminating information about celebrating Valentine's Day. According to him, Valentine’s day contravened Islamic teachings.
He should really open up and see how Valentine's day is celebrated in Pakistan and the middle-eastern countries.
Jamil urged television stations to offer suitable programmes that could educate the public about Valentine's Day.
Unfortunately, one TV station, TV-9 got it horribly wrong when the panelist for one of its shows, Siti Nor Bahyah Mahamood spewed more hate and venom about a day that was supposed to be all about love and affection.
The public outrage must have taken TV-9 and her, by surprise. She has since disappeared from cyberspace and ‘that’ daft video clip of hers has also gone. Although TV-9 apologised for her mentally challenged comments, the onus is on her to apologise to the public she offended.
Nevertheless, Deputy Prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin waded in and stressed that the advice given by Jakim on Valentine's Day celebrations is directed solely at Muslims.
He said, “It is to inform Muslims that the celebrations are not suitable for them, which does not mean that we want to demean Valentine's Day or disrespect other communities”.
Jakim director-general Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz Islam said that Islam had never rejected the good things brought by the Western world, including matters concerning love and the way of showing our love to others.
He added that Islam was not opposed to the celebration of love, but he objected to the vice activities that usually took place during the celebration.
He said, “That is why a fatwa (edict) was issued to prevent and advise Muslims not to celebrate Valentine's Day because in reality, as well as historically, the celebration of Valentine's Day is synonymous with vice activities.”
Now we get to the root of the problem. For the holier-than-thou types in Jakim, it all boils down to SEX.
He is afraid that Muslim teenagers who are given a card, or roses or chocolates or get taken out for a treat in a restaurant, will definitely end up having sex.
So how does he explain the sexual activities that take place the other 364 days of the year?
Wan Mohamad then said “We just cannot get involved with other religion's worshiping rituals. In a social event, we can always join the non-Muslims, no problem.
He said, “Our leaders also attend such an event. Even the muftis attended tea parties organised by their neighbours celebrating Christmas.”
But he conveniently forgot that during a Christmas tea party attended by the Prime minister, the whole premises had to be stripped bare of all religious symbols.
All is not lost. It appears that Jakim is kind to the elderly.
Why else would twenty senior citizens enjoy their Valentine’s Day train ride to Ipoh organised by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB)?
There was no moral police to arrest these oldie-goldies and charge them for ‘immoral activities’.
Dubbed the “Retro Love Coach”, the senior citizens sat in a KTMB event coach that had a stage area, karaoke station and colourful retro seat covers and decorations.
Senior citizen Norsiah Nordin, 58, said the train ride was a romantic way of bringing her husband Ishak Abd Rahman, 61, and her closer.
Amir Rusli, 63, said the secret of a healthy marriage was to have “lots and lots” of patience.
Retired widow Minah Abdul Majid, 62, said she went on these trips to have fun.
KTMB marketing manager Mohd Noordin Kimi said the Retro Love Coach package was organised for the senior citizens in conjunction with the launch of the company’s 1Malaysia Couples Train package. The new package would give a 25% discount for groups of three couples.
Three couples in the Retro Love Coach?
Naughty naughty! No wonder the teenagers are upset at being denied all the fun.