Pakistani Islamists hold ‘modesty day’ to counter Valentine’s celebrations

Islamabad, Feb 14 (EFE).- Pakistani Islamist groups on Monday celebrated a conservative “Modesty Day” to counter Valentine’s Day, a festival which they oppose as a “western propaganda,” although it refuses to go away in a country whose name literally means “land of the pure.”

The largest religious political group on the country, Jamaat-e-Islami, and its unofficial student wing Islami Jamiat Talaba (students’ unions are banned in the country), held events in schools and universities across the country to dissuade the youth from celebrating the day of love.

“Islam is the religion of Haya (modesty) and we, being Muslims, reject all other ideas that contradict the idea,” Niaz Ahmed, a spokesperson of the IJT, told EFE.

He said that thousands of students participated in programs ranging from marches to seminars in different cities across Pakistan.

Ahmed said that other students’ groups had also joined events linked to the Modesty Day, created by the IJT years ago, adding that elders also needed to come together to stop “western propaganda like the Valentine’s Day.”

“Muslim students must be conscious and proactive to preserve the tenets of Islam, and alien ideas of liberality of the West must be thwarted,” he added.

The spokesperson said that Modesty Day participants paid tribute to the Indian Muslim student, Muskan Khan, who recently faced off a mob of Hindu students opposing her for wearing the hijab by shouting “Allah-o-akbar” (Allah is great), amid a controversy over wearing the Islamic veil in Indian educational institutions which has ended up in courts.

“On this Day, we pay salute to Muskan Khan, who demonstrated that modesty is the ultimate strength of Muslims,” Niaz said.

Secular activists have opposed such religious campaigns, with counter-protests such as the one organized by human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud in 2013.

However, Mahmud was assassinated two years later precisely for this initiative, according to the confession of one of the accused. EFE


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