Somalia bans Christmas and New Year celebrations
Mogadishu: The ruling government of Somalia issued a ban on global festivity of Christmas as well as discouraged New Year celebrations in the Muslim country on the pretext of religion based celebrations. The government issued a statement indicating that such celebrations were not related to the majority community of Somalia which followed Islam as its religious discourse. Sheikh Mohamed Kheyrow, Director of Somalia’s ministry of religion, said on state radio — The festivities have nothing to do with Islam. We warn against celebration of Christmas, which is only for Christians. This is a matter of faith. The Christmas holiday and its drum beatings have nothing to with Islam.
Kheyrow added that ministry had sent letters to police, national security intelligence and officials in the capital Mogadishu instructing them to prevent Christmas celebrations. The announcement had tones akin to Islamist militants al Shabaab, which earlier controlled the capital Mogadishu until 2011. The dictats of the then militant group included a ban on Christmas celebrations. The population spread of Somalia is leaning heavily towards followers of Islam, the Muslim community. But the population density also comprises of thousands of African Union (AU) peacekeepers, mostly aligned to pro-Christian countries like Burundi, Uganda and Kenya. Migratory polulation of this country, which is struggling to emerge from two decades of fighting and chaos, also stands witness to a growing number of Somalis returning from Europe and North America. These migratory home-comers do carry a bit of foreign traditions and attitudes with them, and it is interpreted as a warning to these group of migratory residents.
Officials from the ruling government also pointed towards the rising unrest of terrorism and said that Christmas celebrations might attract attacks from the Islamist militants al Shabaab and the government was determined to guard against any such disruptions in the normalcy of Somalia.