Bandar Seri Begawan: Christmas is just around the corner, but there are countries where celebrations have been banned.
There are no tinsel-laden trees or Santa hats in the oil-rich sultanate of Brunei. The all-powerful Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world`s richest men, had last year announced that he would push ahead with the introduction of sharia law. Religious leaders in the oil-rich sultanate warned this month that a ban on Christmas would be strictly enforced, for fear that Muslims could be led astray.
"Using religious symbols like crosses, lighting candles, putting up Christmas trees, singing religious songs, sending Christmas greetings... are against Islamic faith," imams said in sermons published in the local press.
After Brunei, Somalia's government banned celebrations of Christmas and New Year in the Muslim majority country this year, saying the festivities might attract Islamist attacks.
"All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage the faith of the Muslim community," the director general of the Religious Affairs Ministry told reporters. Meanwhile, Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, of the Supreme Religious Council of Somalia, said that non-Muslim festivities might provoke the ire of the Shebab, East Africa's al Qaeda branch, which is headquartered in Somalia. Somalia also issued a previous ban in 2013.
In Tajikistan, the government has issued a decree banning Christmas trees and other decorations from schools.
The move is part of the ex-Soviet country's ongoing effort to tighten restrictions on Western holidays in general.
In 2013, over 40 people were detained for "plotting to celebrate Christmas”. So those in Saudi Arabia, remember that even sending out Christmas cards could pose problems for you.
North Korea, as an atheist country, does not celebrate Christmas. There are no bright lights, no Christmas dinners in North Korea.