Here's how it goes in Gaza:
- Valentine's Day is officially "haram," or forbidden by Islam (Hamas-style)
- Most of the people in Gaza don't have the spare change for frills, anyway
- The "Eid el Hob" (Feast of Love) gets celebrated anyway - upscale neighborhood shops feature buckets of flowers, heart-shaped decorations, and colored carnations
- Hamas police look the other way
Reactions to Valentine's Day in the Middle East, according to the "Star Tribune" / Associated Press article, are a pretty good indicator of just how "fundamentalist" the local flavor or Islam is.
Places run by people who tolerate those who don't do everything their way tend to tolerate Valentine's Day. Those with what might be euphemistically called an old-fashioned view of Islam don't.
In a way, I can see the latter's point. Valentine's Day certainly doesn't come from the Arab world: and people for whom anything 'not invented here' is unthinkable couldn't be expected to like a mushy celebration like Valentine's Day.
So: hats off to Hamas, for having the sense to let its subjects do something they enjoy. Even if the Prophet, or their top imam, didn't order them to.
Related posts, on tolerance, bigotry, racism, and hatred.