All forms of Christmas celebration, including the wearing of Santa Claus hats have been banned in Brunei, South East Asia.
All forms of Christmas celebration, including the wearing of Santa Claus hats have been banned in Brunei, South East Asia. Public participation by either its Muslim or non-Muslim populace has been declared a serious offense which could lead to five years jail sentence.
After objections by the non-Muslim population which comprises of 32 percent of their 420,000 population, permission was given for them to celebrate in their own little communities, but strictly without the involvement of the Muslims.
According to Brunei Times, the enforcement was made by their ministry of religious affairs as a means to control all acts of celebration of Christmas excessively and openly, so as not to lead the Muslims astray or damage the aqidah (beliefs) of the Muslim community.
This issue has been on-going since it was raised during Christmas last year. The ban was enforced when a large number of people were spotted dressed like Santa Claus. Work places and businesses have been obliged to remove their Christmas decorations and Christmas outfit.
A government spokesman released as statement stating “Muslims should be careful not to follow celebrations such as these that are not in any way related to Islam, for it is feared that this could lead to tasyabbuh (imitation) and could unknowingly damage the aqidah (faith) of the Muslims.”
The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the richest men in the world is fighting strongly for full implementation of Sharia law.
Presently, Brunei is the first East Asian country to introduce the Islamic criminal law. As a visitor, you are also allowed to import and consume alcoholic drinks, but this must never be done in a public place.
For its Muslim residents, alcohol consumption as well as theft, pregnancy outside marriage, failure to perform Friday prayers, adultery and propagation of other religions (where they claim celebration of Christmas falls under) are punishable offences.