MOGADISHU, Somalia, Somalia’s government on Tuesday banned Christmas celebrations due to it threatening Islamic beliefs.
Though it is only sparsely celebrated in the Islamic country, ex-patriots returning from Western countries after Somalia’s civil war have brought with them some outside culture. Somalia adopted Sharia law in 2009.
Somalia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs issued the ban on New Year’s as well as Christmas celebrations. “The Christmas holiday and its drum beatings have nothing to with Islam,” the decree stated.
Celebrations might also draw violent attacks from Islamic extremist group al Shabaab.
State security has been told to shut down any public forms of celebration, especially in the capital.
Foreigners will be allowed to celebrate in private homes or UN compounds for peacekeepers, who help the government fight al Shabaab. Still, it’s no guarantee of safety. A gunman fired on a Christmas party at a military base last year.
By Shawn Price