JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian Muslic cleric has warned his young followers against celebrating Valentine’s Day, saying it is the same as promoting faiths other than Islam and could lead to forbidden sex.

Amidhan Shaberah, the chairman of the Indonesian Council of Clerics, said Monday that the romantic holiday historically stems from Christianity. He added that unmarried young people expressing affection with kisses could lead to forbidden sexual relations.

Small groups of a few hundred also staged protests against Valentine’s Day in several cities in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

Indonesia’s 200 million Muslims practice a moderate form of the faith. Attitudes toward Valentine’s Day vary in the Muslim world.

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Headlines from the Associated Press