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#MyTreedom: Christmas banned in Brunei

#MyTreedom: Christmas banned in Brunei
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By Euronews with REUTERS, IB TIMES
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Committed Christmassers launch #hashtag campaign

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Christmas has been banned in Brunei.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, one of the world’s richest men, announced last year that he would introduce Sharia law in his oil-rich sultanate.

Sultan of Brunei bans Christmas 'because it cd damage faith of Muslims' | Five years in jail if one celebrates X'mas https://t.co/QeiNB4EFV4

— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) December 22, 2015

Although Christians are free to celebrate, they have been told not to do so “excessively and openly” in the South-East Asian nation which sits on a corner of the island of Borneo.

Businesses, including hotels, have been warned not to put decorations up. Spot checks are being carried out.

Why has Brunei banned Christmas?

The ban is set to be rigidly enforced due to concerns that the prominent religious symbols are against the Islamic faith.

The government warned last year that Muslims would be committing an offence if they even wore “hats and clothes that resemble Santa Claus.”

Those who contravene the Sharia ruling risk a five-year jail sentence.

Human Rights Watch critica a Brunei por prohibir la Navidad https://t.co/SgOk1pHjbLpic.twitter.com/A3J4auQDJq

— Montevideo Portal (@portalmvd) December 23, 2015

The campaign group Human Rights Watch has described the ban as “a flagrant violation of the freedom of worship.”

Somalia

#Somalia bans Christmas celebrations https://t.co/FSJhk2PKUnpic.twitter.com/VHRKNtizCH

— Francis Waithaka (@waithash) December 23, 2015

Because those in Somalia putting up beach Christmas trees was out of control, its banned https://t.co/118DzrHzMepic.twitter.com/4ok0w2fQ2q

— Peter Martell (@petermartell) December 23, 2015

The celebration of Christmas has also been banned in Somalia.

The government of the conflict-torn state has warned that Christian festivities like Christmas could threaten national observance of the Muslim faith.

Security services have been ordered to stop any gatherings taking place.

Foreign nationals are free to hold Christmas celebrations in their own homes and in compounds housing international organisations.

However, any sign of Christmas celebration at hotels and other public places has been prohibited.

Comparisons

Comparisons have been drawn with other countries.

Pendant ce temps-là, à Brunei… #treedom#islamophobiepic.twitter.com/45dpn8ZFJk

— Laurette Narvalette (@LaurNarv) December 23, 2015

Some see a similarity with France, for example, where outward signs of religious affiliation were banned in schools and some public buildings in 2004 and face-covering veils banned in 2011.

#MyTreedom

Christians In Middle East Share 'My Treedom' Christmas Celebrations On Social Media To Combat Religious Persec… https://t.co/QRiZXCAbAj

— Middle East Links (@dlMiddleEast) December 22, 2015

Christians living in countries where Christmas has been ruled out have launched the #MyTreedom campaign

They are putting up Christmas trees in their homes and sharing pictures of their decorations on Facebook with the hashtag #MyTreedom.

The page so far has images from Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Pakstan and has more than 24,000 likes.

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Defiant Christians in Mid East risk punishment by posting festive photos on Facebook as part of #MyTreedom campaign https://t.co/rWMOnrCW4u

— Mr Normal ن (@PaulWilko657) December 20, 2015

Merry Christmas from Karbala, Iraq. A haven for fleeing Iraqi Christians https://t.co/0Gxaxmx1q2#MyTreedompic.twitter.com/WRfg0kGVI6

— Lisa Daftari (@LisaDaftari) December 17, 2015

Merry Christmas from Brunei, Pakistan Saudi Arabia, Syria. Where next? Read more https://t.co/OoVFJtDWCB#MyTreedompic.twitter.com/9V0zriYOFF

— The Foreign Desk (@ForeignDeskNews) December 15, 2015

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)0; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));> Seen a Christmas tree more (or less) impressive than these efforts from around the world?Send your pictures to us on…

Posted by euronews on Monday, 21 December 2015

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#MyTreedom: Christmas banned in Brunei