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Mon 19 Jan 2015 10:50 AM

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Saudi Arabia bans birthday, religious celebrations in hospitals

The health ministry says it is reinforcing a ban announced 27 years ago after nurses were caught celebrating Christmas

Saudi Arabia bans birthday, religious celebrations in hospitals

The Saudi Health Ministry has banned celebrating birthdays and religious holidays in public hospitals and health facilities.

The rule includes greeting others in reference to a birthday or religious holiday such as Ramadan or Christmas, Saudi Gazette reported.

The ministry said the ban was based on a religious edict issued by the Dar Al Ifta 27 years ago after it learned that a government hospital had allowed its non-Muslim employees to celebrate Christmas in its housing compound for nurses.

Muslims are not allowed to greet non-Muslims on their religious occasions, Sheikh Mohammed Al Oraifi, a Saudi scholar, told the newspaper.

“If they celebrate the birth of God’s son and you greet them… it means you endorse their faith,” he said.

The conservative kingdom also does not allow the celebration of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), despite other Muslim nations allowing celebrations during the Islamic month of Rabi' al-awwal.

Hans 4 years ago

Indeed, very culturally sensitive of Saudi Arabia in these difficult times for the Muslim world. Public beheadings, lashings and more ... They are not really helping Islam to promote itself as a tolerant and peaceful belief. The Muslim world outside of Saudi Arabia should take distance from this statements. I embrace the way the UAE is showing tolerance to people of all faiths and the courteousness of Emirati's wishing Merry Christmas or Happy Diwali to others. This is the way forward!

Terence Borst 4 years ago

They cannot be serious, what would they think if we in Europe banned Muslims from celebrating their festivals. These people need to join the modern world instead of expecting everyone to join their backward and intolerant world.

nadeem 4 years ago

its basically a chalk to some and cheese to some .
the concept of celebrations and for events in a life cycle. may differ . for eg. London house of commons in the 1700 to 1800 ad
had banned Christmas , since it was a pagan festival!
wat u say 2 that?