Somalia bans Christmas and New year celebrations, says they are ‘unislamic’

SomaliaSomali government has banned festivities during Christmas and New Year.

Ministry of Religious Affairs said events related to the celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage the faith of the Muslim community.

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Director General Mohamed Khayrow on Tuesday ordered security forces to be on the look out for such activities.

“All security forces are advised to halt or dissolve any gatherings. There should be no activity at all,” Khayrow said.

The Director General was speaking in Mogadishu accompanied by Vice Chairman of the Supreme Religious Council Nur Gurhan.

New Vision media on Wednesday reported that Gurhan cautioned marking the festivities “might motivate al Shabaab militants to launch attacks in Somalia”.

Somalia has been the target of various attacks that compelled Kenya to send its troops to the country for aid.

“We Islamic Scholars are warning against the celebration of such events which are not relevant to the principles of our religion,” Gurhan said.

He further warned leaders that holding festivities besides the two Islamic Eids would amount to immorality.

In 2013, the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs banned celebration of Christian festivities in Somalia.

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ and observed worldwide on December 25 as a Christian religious and cultural celebration.

Since the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle, dates do not correspond with those on the Gregorian calendar.

While the Gregorian calendar reads 2015, the Islamic year 1437 started in October.

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