Hojmand Sadigh – BASNEWS 20.10.2013 – : Kurdish Islamic parties and activists have been angered by a couple’s public kiss in Kurdish city Slêmanî [Sulaimaniyah].

A statue representing love was burnt in the city’s Azadi Park (Freedom Park). In protest, a Kurdish man kissed his Dutch girlfriend in public, sparking anger within conservative communities and Islamic parties. The two Kurdish Islamic parties; Kurdistan Islamic Group (KIG) and Kurdistan Islamic Movement (KIM) denounced the couple’s actions and said their deeds were against Islamic traditions.“We are against anything that may be offensive, and we recommend that the love statue be replaced with one of executed Kurdish youths,” said KIM spokesperson Shwan Qaradaghi.

Sulaimaniyah has seen some attacks on secular symbols, the latest being when an unidentified group vandalized the grave of late Kurdish poet Sherko Bekas, also situated in Azadi Park.“Everyone should be against the kiss. It’s an effort to disorientate Kurdish Muslim Youths,” added Muhammad Hakim, a KIG Spokesman. Meanwhile, Human and women rights activists have taken to social media to criticize the Kurdish Islamists. “In my country kissing is forbidden, but braking graves and statues and blowing yourself up is OK,” wrote women’s rights activist Avin Ibrahim on her Facebook page.