We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Tue 22 Dec 2015 10:31 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Sultan of Brunei warns of jail for celebrating Christmas

Muslim ruler says Christians are not allowed to put up a Christmas tree, sing religious songs or send Christmas greetings

Sultan of Brunei warns of jail for celebrating Christmas
His Royal Highness The Sultan of Brunei. (Getty Images)

Brunei residents face up to five years in jail if they celebrate Christmas, the ruler of the Islamic country has warned.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah appears to have enforced the ban in a bid to prevent the oil-rich country’s 420,000 Muslims, which make up about 65 percent of the population, from being exposed to ‘infidel’ beliefs.

“These enforcement measures are… intended to control the act of celebrating Christmas excessively and openly, which could damage the aqidah [beliefs] of the Muslim community,” a Ministry of Religious Affairs statement said, according to the Borneo Bulletin.

Non-Muslims are allowed to celebrate the holiday behind closed doors if they do not put up a Christmas tree, sing religious songs or send Christmas greetings, the daily newspaper said.

“Some may think that it is a frivolous matter and should not be brought up as an issue. But as Muslims … we must keep it [non-Islamic celebrations] away as it could affect our Islamic faith,” Brunei imams are quoted as saying.

The small Asian nation introduced Sharia law in April last year. It is being enforced in stages, with offences including pregnancy outside of marriage, failure to perform Friday prayers, propagating other religions, consumption of alcohol, adultery and sodomy.

Penalties include death by stoning.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.
Mary 4 years ago

The UAE has a Sharia legal system, but maintains religious tolerance throughout it's society. The question is if religious tolerance part of the Islamic teachings, and if so, then why can't Muslims live side by side with non-Muslims and allow people to openly follow their religious practices. The UAE is the role model for all Muslim countries.