As part of their “Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap” campaign, Malaysian police have arrested scores of people for the crime of being in the same room together without being married; they face up to a 2 year prison sentence if convicted.
Police report making 80 arrests for the Sharia crime of “khalwat” (being together with an unmarried non-relative of the opposite sex) in the state of Selangor alone, with more in other states and the capital as well.
Those arrested were mostly frequenting hotels and public parks; if convicted they face up to 2 years in prison.
The government-run campaign is based on a 2005 fatwa which identifies Valentine’s Day as a depraved infidel tradition which only serves to tempt young people into the evils of premarital sex.
Critics maintain such arrests only serve to damage Malaysia’s supposedly unwarranted image of not being a crazy Islamic state where young girls are stoned to death for being raped.