After Brunei, Somalia Bans Christmas

Move Over Brunei, Somalia has taken the limelight now imposing a ban on not only Christmas celebrations but also New Year events in the country terming these events as having "nothing to do with Islam."

Warning those who celebrate Christmas, Sheikh Mohamed Kheyrow, director of Somalia’s ministry of religion, said:"This is a matter of faith. The Christmas holiday and its drum beatings have nothing to with Islam." Police have been instructed to implement the diktat strictly all over the country, he said.

The announcement is seen from two angles by critics, one is to please the rebels al Shabaab, which controlled the capital Mogadishu until 2011 and whose edicts included a ban on Christmas celebrations.

Secondly, several rfugees from African Union (AU) peacekeepers, including from the majority-Christian countries Burundi, Uganda and Kenya, may become targets of militant attacks if they celebrate Christmas and the ban may be a pre-emptive action to stem any violence from the rebels.

"Christmas will not be celebrated in Somalia for two reasons; all Somalis are Muslims and there is no Christian community here. The other reason is for security," Abdifatah Halane, spokesman for Mogadishu mayor, told Reuters.

Last year, al Shabaab said it had attacked the main AU base in Mogadishu mainly due to Christmas celebrations.

Al-shabab flag

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