Pakistan continues to show the world that it remains on the course of Islamic extremism and increasingly intolerant of free exercise and free speech. Now the Pakistani government is warning media not to cover the increasingly popular Valentine’s Day celebrations. Islamic clerics have declared the Western holiday to be an offense to Islam. None of these clerics or government officials appear concerned that there is a far greater danger to Islam if it is threatened by people wanting to exchange Valentines or throwing parties.
Most religions treat the holiday as benign, if not positive for relationships. More importantly, most countries treat the decision to observe such a holiday as an individual choice. The Islamic-controlled government in Pakistan however routinely denies such human rights to religious minorities.
In its warning to publishers and broadcasters, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) writes that “respondents are directed to ensure that nothing about the celebration of Valentine Day and its promotion is spread on the Electronic and Print Media.” Officials have also led events burning symbols of Valentine’s Day and denouncing celebrants as virtual apostates.
Abdul Waheed actually filed one of the petitions seeking to bar his neighbors from celebrating the holiday because Valentines’ Day observance is “against the teachings of Islam and should be banned immediately.” Thus, Waheed is irate that others are not forced to follow his religious beliefs — the very definition of oppression.