TASHKENT, February 14 (RIA Novosti) – Religious leaders in Uzbekistan have condemned St. Valentine's Day as a harmful holiday that contradicts both Islam and local traditions.
At Friday prayers in mosques across the Central Asian state, mullahs denounced the annual celebration of love as the product of propaganda of Western values in the mass media.
“The holiday is just another reason that pushes people to fornication,” said a mullah at one mosque in the capital Tashkent. He said the holiday encouraged non-marital relationships and cheating.
Few people outside the big cities in Uzbekistan celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, a Western European Christian holiday popular in Britain, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
An Uzbek religious expert called the holiday an opportunity for businesses to make money on people’s feelings.
Media in Uzbekistan have proposed instead to mark the day in memory of the warrior and poet Babur, who was born on February 14, 1483, in the city of Andijan.
Note: This story initially appeared in its unedited form; the original has now been replaced with the edited version.