Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Forbidden: Somehow, I'm Not Surprised

"Valentine's Day forbidden by Islam, but Gaza's Hamas rulers largely look the other way" "Minneapolis Star Tribune" (February 14, 2007)

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
They're following orders. The Islamic rulers of Gaza seem to have a policy of being Islamic on paper and reasonable on the street.

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.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.