Teresa Kok: V-Day link with Christians baseless, misleading

By Melissa Chi, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — DAP’s Teresa Kok said today it was baseless and misleading for a Muslim preacher and the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) to link Valentine’s Day to Christians, adding to the growing chorus clarifying the February 14 celebration.

The Selangor state executive councillor said the sermon prepared by JAIS, and preacher, Siti Nor Bahyah Mahamood’s comments, were both prejudiced and irresponsible because they were based not upon facts but upon urban myths.

“Such comments are dangerous as they are likely to stir disgust and disdain for Christianity,” she said in a statement today.

The Seputeh MP said that Valentine’s Day is an occasion, much like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and Children’s Day, to signify appreciation of loved ones.

“To celebrate or not is entirely up to each individual. Furthermore, Valentine’s Day has long since been capitalised upon by marketers as a commercial opportunity for themselves, and not one that is promulgated by Christianity. It is universally celebrated secularly.

“As a motivational speaker, Siti Nor Bahyah should have been much more careful with her choice of words, and not spread her prejudiced views as the truth. In doing so, she has abused her position by giving her sphere of influence a false and misguided impression of Christianity,” she said.

She urged Siti Nor Bahyah and JAIS to be more careful when it comes to comments that go beyond the Islamic sphere, but stopped short of demanding an apology.

“There needs to be constant frank inter-faith dialogue to promote mutual understanding to ensure that such incidents do not occur ever again,” Kok said.

According to a sermon prepared by the Selangor’s Islamic authority, Valentine’s day is celebrated in many ways, starting with greeting cards, flowers and dance parties.

“In fact some celebrate it with a date which would eventually lead to illicit sex. Clearly the celebration is not part of Islamic teaching, it violates the syariah and contradicts the universal code of ethics,” it added.