- Brunei and Somalia have banned all visible displays or celebrations of Christmas
- The justification: it is contrary and threatening to the Islamic faith
- They are allowed if done inside private homes
- Fines and jail time will result if violations occur
- “There should be no activity at all. All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage the faith of the Muslim community”
- “Using religious symbols like crosses, lighting candles, putting up Christmas trees, singing religious songs, sending Christmas greetings … are against Islamic faith”
What a bunch of freedom and fun loving joyous folks.
Via the BBC:
Somalia’s government has banned the celebration of Christmas, warning that such Christian festivities could threaten the nation’s Muslim faith.
“Those celebrations are not in any way related to Islam,” an official at the religious affairs ministry said.
Security agencies have been directed to stay alert to stop any gatherings.
Foreigners are free to mark the Christian holiday in their own homes, but hotels and other public places have been prohibited from marking the day.
“Having Muslims celebrate Christmas in Somalia is not the right thing, such things are akin to the abandonment,” local media quote Mohamed Kheyrow, a top official at Somalia’s justice and religious affairs ministry, as saying.
Correspondents say as the country recovers from years of civil war, a growing number of Somalis who grew up in the diaspora are returning home, some of them bringing Western customs with them.
Christmas is not widely celebrated in Somalia, which officially adopted Sharia in 2009, but the odd event was held – especially as an excuse to hold a party
And Al Jazeera:
Similarly, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah has also banned public celebrations of Christmas.
Religious leaders in the oil-rich sultanate warned the ban on Christmas would be strictly enforced, with violators facing up to five years in jail.
“Using religious symbols like crosses, lighting candles, putting up Christmas trees, singing religious songs, sending Christmas greetings … are against Islamic faith,” imams said in sermons published in the local press.
The government warned last year that Muslims would be committing an offence if they so much as wore “hats or clothes that resemble Santa Claus”.
Christians represent about nine percent of Brunei’s 430,000 population.
Businesses have been warned to take decorations down and authorities have stepped up spot checks across the capital. Hotels popular among Western tourists that once boasted dazzling lights and giant Christmas trees are now barren of festive decor.