Not everyone is set to celebrate love and romance on Valentine's Day this year. In Muslim countries like Indonesia and Pakistan, observing the holiday has been banned – although public reaction is often mixed.
Indonesian public officials and religious leaders banned Valentine's Day celebrations while high school students in several cities held rallies demonstrating against the holiday. Banda Aceh Mayor Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal joined local Shariah officials at one of the student rallies, which also took place in Surabaya. The rallies were reported to include thousands of high school and junior high school students.
Crowds of students -- many of them young women wearing hijabs -- held up signs and marched in protest of Valentine's Day. The signs featured slogans like "Say no to Valentine" and "I am Muslim. No Valentine's Day."
In Banda Aceh, the mayor went on to give a speech reminding the crowd that Valentine's Day does not comply with Shariah law. Known as a staunch defender of Islamic values, she was recently quoted on MetroTV.
"Citizens and the young generation are not allowed to celebrate days that aren't part of Islamic culture. The law says it is haram (forbidden by Allah). The city government must protect its citizens from acts that are haram."