Indonesian officials, clerics ban Valentine's Day observance

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Indonesian officials and Muslim clerics have banned young Muslims from celebrating Valentine's Day, arguing that the observance runs against Islamic teachings.

In Banda Aceh, the capital of the devout Muslim province of Aceh, thousands of high school students held rallies rejecting the celebration of Valentine's Day.

The city's mayor, Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal, and Shariah officials joined Saturday's rallies.

The mayor said the rallies were aimed at making people aware that Valentine's Day is not part of Islamic culture.

A similar rally by junior high school students was held in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, practices a moderate form of Islam.