Friday, January 09, 2015

Brunei Bans Public Christmas Celebrations That Are Displayed To Muslims

According to the International Business Times, yesterday the Brunei Ministry of Religious Affairs officially banned the public celebration of Christmas in the country, concerned that viewing such celebrations could damage the faith of Muslims. The ban implements a Dec. 27 Statement from the Ministry (full text) which says in part:
Muslims are prohibited from imitating the customs and practices of other religions that are related to matters of aqidah (faith). In a hadith ... Prophet Muhammad ... said, "Whoever imitates a people is one of them".
For example, in conjunction with Christmas celebrations, Muslim children, teenagers and adults can be seen wearing hats or clothes that resemble Santa Claus. Actions such as these can amount to an offence under Section 207 (1) of the Syariah Penal Code Order, 2013, that is performing or practicing a ceremony or act contrary to Hukum Syara’ [Syariah law] ....
Meanwhile, believers of other religions that live under the rule of an Islamic country – according to Islam – may practice their religion or celebrate their religious festivities among their community, with the condition that the celebrations are not disclosed or displayed publicly to Muslims.