02/11/2016, 18.16
PAKISTAN

In Lahore, Muslim women and Catholics slam Valentine's Day for destroying the family

by Kamran Chaudhry

The women’s branch of Jamat-e-Islami, a conservative party, organised a protest near stalls selling Valentine Day accessories. For protesters, “Western” culture and consumerism are corrupting children. On the feast day of Saint Valentine, Catholics will visit a centre for the disabled in Lahore. Saint Valentine’s story is different from what appears in ads.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – The goal is "to defend our homes. Secularists and liberals condemn religious leaders for their outdated beliefs, but then do not tolerate it when their daughters and sisters date. We have to save our generation and propagate the culture of honour and respect,” said Samia Raheel Qazi, president of the women section of Jamat-e-Islami (Jl), a conservative Islamist Party, during a protest in front of the Press Club of Lahore.

Shouting "Our values, our asset", women handed out leaflets and held banners against the "Western" and consumerist culture that underpin Valentine's Day.  Whilst not taking part in the rally, Catholics share the Muslim women’s family values.

The protesters gave passers-by books on the Islamic way of life, marriage, family protection, the system of values ​​and parental dignity.

The protest was held at a location crowded with sellers of flowers, balloons, teddy bears and other accessories for Valentine Day celebrations.

Protesters also plan to write to those companies that publish unethical advertising in newspapers and magazines.

For Jamat-e-Islami, Valentine's Day comes from a different and immoral culture, which threatens to undermine the basic values ​​of Islamic society. The party’s women section announced more protests in front of bookstores, beauty salons and shops.

"The use of Internet and media is harming our culture,” Samia Raheel Qazi said. “Our youth are being infected by immorality and their change in behaviour is destroying our family system.”

Conversely, “I believe churches are playing a positive role in shaping a healthy society, appealing to all non-Muslims to promote a positive code of conduct."

In Lahore in fact, the Sacred Heart Parish is organising a visit to the ‘House of Love’ on St Valentine Day. The facility is run by the Missionary Sisters of Charity and is a home for people with physical and mental disabilities.

“We want to promote love,” said Brother Yaqoob Yousaf. “Perhaps, JL should read more about the history of Valentine's Day, which can be found on the Internet. Still, we agree with them on the fact that Valentine's Day should be celebrated with the family."

Saint Valentine was a 3rd century Roman bishop who celebrated weddings for soldiers during the reign of Claudius II. For his faith and actions, he was condemned to death and beheaded on 14 February.

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