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No emojis please! Malaysian group urges Muslim women not to use emoticons on Valentine's Day

AsiaOne | Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017

Photo: Facebook / Pembina

"Avoid the use of emoticons," a youth group in Malaysia has told Muslim women in an anti-Valentine's Day message.

The advice is part of a seven-point guide issued by Malaysia's National Muslim Youth Association (Pembina) on how Muslim women should conduct themselves during interactions with "non-mahram", or men they can marry.

In their Facebook post, Pembina said that the guide should also apply on days other than Valentine's Day as well.

Besides staying away from the ubiquitous smiley faces and colourful icons, the group also warned women to dress appropriately, not to speak in a sweet or mellow voice, not to use too much fragrance, and to keep private text messages short.

Muslim women were also warned against being alone with "non-mahram" men, and to only interact with them during the day before nightfall.

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The Malay Mail Online reported that the guide is part of Pembina's annual anti-Valentine's Day campaign, a celebration which the group claims will threaten the faith of Muslims and lead to illicit sex.

Recent posts on the group's Facebook page feature photographs of Muslim youths holding up posters or placards bearing the message: "I do not celebrate Valentine's Day!"

The group also called on young people to wear its anti-Valentine's Day T-shirt, and to publicly admonish unmarried couples who are dating.

Read also: Valentine's Day gets chilly reception in parts of Asia

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According to the Malay Mail Online, the celebration of Valentine's Day among Muslims has also consistently been opposed by Malaysia's Islamic authorities.

But Malaysia is not the only country which doesn't feel the love for Valentine's Day. Over in Indonesia, a group of students in Surabaya staged a protest, denouncing the day as a celebration that encourages casual sex.

There has also been resistance to it in Japan, where a group known as "Kakuhido", or the Revolutionary Alliance of Men that Women Find Unattractive\ called for an end to public displays of affection, claiming it hurts their feelings, AFP reported.

Meanwhile in Pakistan, a court in the capital of Islamabad issued an order banning the celebration. Pakistani newspaper Dawn reacted to the decision by publishing a list of people who may be "secretly happy" about the ban: Single people, workaholics, cheapskates, conspiracy theorists and hipsters.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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