The government of Somalia has issued a ban on Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, saying the festivities “have nothing to do with Islam.”
Sending a stern warning on state radio, the country’s Director in the Ministry of Religion, Sheik Mohamed Kheyrow, said his office sent letters to the police, national security intelligence and officials in the capital Mogadishu, instructing them to “prevent Christmas celebrations.”
“This is a matter of faith. The Christmas holiday and its drum beatings have nothing to do with Islam.”
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.
Mogadishu mayor’s office explained further the reason behind the ban.
“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,” spokesperson for the mayor of Mogadishu, Abdifatah Halane, said.
It was unclear what exactly the scope of ‘celebrations’ included.
The country’s stance further stresses its rejection of ‘liberal principles’ promoted by foreigners. The country has seen a growing number of Somalis returning from Europe and North America, sometimes bringing foreign traditions and attitudes with them but refuses to bend to those.
A similar directive was sent out on the eve of Christmas in 2013. The Ministry of Justice and Religious affairs distributed copies of the instruction to hotels and other public places in Mogadishu.