February 11, 2009 (KHARTOUM) – An influential body of clerics in Sudan’s capital warned young Muslims to avoid celebrating the Western holiday called Valentine’s day, calling it a corrupting influence.
The Ulema Authority, an influential though not law-making body, cautioned youths that the holiday is a waste of time and money that could be better spent actually preparing for marriage rather than encouraging temptation by taking romantic strolls.
The Islamic body explained its call by the need for Muslims to avoid imitating Christians’ traditions.
As the economy has strengthened in Khartoum, fueled by an oil boom, Valentine cards have become available in Khartoum shops as students and young people took to adopting the Western custom.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated throughout the world on February 14 with exchanges of gifts, cards, candy or flowers. The day is associated with romantic love and originated as a Saint’s day, though its religious associations are largely lost.