Religion of 2013-12-25

Somalia bans Christmas celebrations

The Somali Government has banned celebration of Christian festivities in the country.

A directive released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs stated that no Christian festivities could be held in Somalia.

The Director General of the ministry, Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow Aden, and the Director of the Religious Matters, Sheikh Ali Sheikh Mohamud alias Sheikh Ali Dhere, held a press conference in the capital Mogadishu, to make the announcement.

The ban came just hours before Christmas Day, when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, their spiritual saviour.

“We alert fellow Muslims in Somalia that some festivities to mark Christian Days will take place around the world in this week,” said Sheikh Ali Dhere during the press conference, adding: “It is prohibited to celebrate those days in this country.”

Mr Aden, on his part, stated that all security and law enforcement agencies had been instructed to counter any such celebrations.

He added that copies of the directive were delivered to hotels and other meeting places in Mogadishu.

The officials did not say anything on whether non-Muslim foreign workers or residents could celebrate or not.

It is the first time that a Somali government bans the celebrations since the last central government collapsed in 1991.