[Editor's note: This article is reprinted from our Valentine's issue of 2010. It has been slightly edited to fit this year's day of love.]
Today, Tuesday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day, the sacred day that intimate companions mark to celebrate their love and affection for one another. If you’re thinking about making a study of how couples celebrate this day, the Muslim world and the milieus of the radical Left are not the places you should be spending most, if any, of your time. Indeed, it’s pretty hard to outdo jihadists and “progressives” when it comes to the hatred of Valentine’s Day. And this hatred is precisely the territory on which the contemporary romance between the radical Left and Islamic fanaticism is formed.
The train is never late: every time Valentine’s comes around, the Muslim world reacts with ferocious rage, with its leaders doing everything in their power to quash the festivity that comes with the celebration of private romance. Imams around the world thunder against Valentine’s every year — and the celebration of the day itself is literally outlawed in Islamist states.
In Aceh province in Indonesia just a few days ago, for instance, Muslim clerics issued a stern warning to Muslims, the younger generation in particular, against observing Valentine’s Day. Tgk Feisal, general secretary of the Aceh Ulema Association (HUDA), stated that “It is haram for Muslims to observe Valentine’s Day because it does not accord with Islamic Sharia.” He added that the government must watch out for youths participating in Valentine’s Day activities in Aceh. One can just imagine what will happen to the guilty parties caught celebrating their love for one another.
The Saudis consistently punish the slightest hint of celebrating Valentine’s Day. The Kingdom and its religious “morality” police always officially issue a stern warning that anyone caught even thinking about Valentine’s Day will suffer some of the most painful penalties of Sharia Law. This is typical of the Saudis of course. As Daniel Pipes has reported, the Saudi regime takes a firm stand against Valentine’s every year, and the Saudi religious police monitor stores selling roses and other gifts. They arrest women for wearing red on that day. Last year, the narrative was no different: the Saudis announced that, starting the week of Valentine’s and until February 15, it would be illegal for a merchant to sell any item that is red, or that in any way hints of being connected to Valentine’s Day.
As Claude Cartaginese reported at Newsreal Blog during last year’s Valentine’s, any merchant found selling such items as red roses, red clothing of any kind (especially dresses), toys, heart-shaped products, candy, greeting cards or any items wrapped in red, had to destroy them or face the wrath of Saudi justice.
Christian overseas workers living in the Kingdom from the Philippines and other countries always take extra precautions, heeding the Saudis’ warning to them specifically to avoid greeting anyone with the words “Happy Valentine’s Day” or exchanging any gift that reeks of romance. A spokesman for a Philippine workers group commented last year: “We are urging fellow Filipinos in the Middle East, especially lovers, just to celebrate their Valentine’s Day secretly and with utmost care.”
The Iranian despots, meanwhile, always try to make sure the Saudis don’t outdo them in suffocating Valentine’s Day. Iran’s “morality” police consistently order shops to remove heart-and-flower decorations and images of couples embracing on this day — and anytime around this day. In Pakistan, the student wing of the fundamentalist Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a complete ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations. Khalid Waqas Chamkani, a leader in the party, calls it a “shameful day.”
Typical of this whole pathology in the Islamic world was a development witnessed back on February 10, 2006, when activists of the radical Kashmiri Islamic group Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Community) went on a rampage in Srinagar, the main city of the Indian portion of Kashmir. Some two dozen black-veiled Muslim women stormed gift and stationery shops, burning Valentine’s Day cards and posters showing couples together.
In the West, meanwhile leftist feminists are not to be outdone by their jihadi allies in reviling — and trying to kill — Valentine’s Day. Throughout all Women’s Studies Programs on American campuses, for instance, you will find the demonization of Valentine’s Day, since, as the disciples of Andrea Dworkin angrily explain, the day is a manifestation of how capitalist and homophobic patriarchs brainwash and oppress women and push them into spheres of powerlessness. As a person who spent more than a decade in academia, I was privileged to witness this grotesque attack and “deconstruction” of Valentine’s Day at close range. Feminist icons like Jane Fonda, meanwhile, help lead the attack on Valentine’s Day in society at large. As David Horowitz has documented, Fonda has led the campaign to transform this special day into “V-Day” (“Violence against Women Day”) — which is, when it all comes down to it, a day of hate, featuring a mass indictment of men.
So what exactly is transpiring here? What explains this hatred of Valentine’s Day by leftist feminists and jihadis? And how and why does it serve as the sacred bond that brings the radical Left and Islam into its current feast of solidarity?
The core issue at the foundation of this phenomenon is that Islam and the radical Left both revile the notion of private love, a non-tangible and divine entity that draws individuals to each other and, therefore, distracts them from submitting themselves to a secular deity.
The highest objective of both Islam and the radical Left is clear: to shatter the sacred intimacy that a man and a woman can share with one another, for such a bond is inaccessible to the order. History, therefore, demonstrates how Islam, like Communism, wages a ferocious war on any kind of private and unregulated love. In the case of Islam, the reality is epitomized in its monstrous structures of gender apartheid and the terror that keeps it in place. Indeed, female sexuality and freedom are demonized and, therefore, forced veiling, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings and other misogynist monstrosities become mandatory parts of the sadistic paradigm.
The puritanical nature of totalist systems (whether Fascist, Communist, or Islamist) is another manifestation of this phenomenon. In Stalinist Russia, sexual pleasure was portrayed as unsocialist and counter-revolutionary. More recent Communist societies have also waged war on sexuality — a war that Islam, as we know, wages with similar ferocity. These totalist structures cannot survive in environments filled with self-interested, pleasure-seeking individuals who prioritize devotion to other individual human beings over the collective and the state. Because the leftist believer viscerally hates the notion and reality of personal love and “the couple,” he champions the enforcement of totalitarian puritanism by the despotic regimes he worships.
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