Somalia bans Christmas and New Year celebrations

Published: December 22, 2015

Somalia’s Federal government on Tuesday banned the celebrations of Christmas and New Year in the capital Mogadishu, an official has said.

General of Somalia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow announced the decision in a Press Conference held in Mogadishu along with the Vice Chairman of the Supreme Religious Council (SRC), Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan.

“All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage aqidah (faith) of the Muslim community.” He added: ‘’All security forces are advised to halt or dissolve any gatherings. There should be no activity at all.’’

Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, the deputy chairman of the Supreme Religious Council of Somalia said that such events might motivate extremist group al-Shabaab to launch attacks in the capital.

“We [Islamic Scholars] are warning against the celebration of such events which are not relevant to the principles of our religion. Such events give also a chance al-Shabaab to carry out attacks.”

Last year, al-Shabaab militants launched a deadly attack on the main African Union (AU) base in Mogadishu as a Christmas party was going on. It was confirmed that more than 5 peacekeepers and eight militants died in the battle which lasted for several hours.

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