Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here
The world and your Catholic life, all in one place.
Subscribe to Aleteia's free newsletter!

Not Prepared to Donate?

Here are 5 ways you can still help Aleteia:

  1. Pray for our team and the success of our mission
  2. Talk about Aleteia in your parish
  3. Share Aleteia content with friends and family
  4. Turn off your ad blockers when you visit
  5. Subscribe to our free newsletter and read us daily
Thank you!
Team Aleteia

Subscribe

Aleteia

Social Media Posts Celebrate Christmas in Parts of the World Where It’s Banned

A Palestinian Greek Orthodox Christian girl dressed in Santa Claus stands outside the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City on December 22, 2013, as preparations for Christmas celebrations get underway. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED / AFP / MOHAMMED ABED
Share

Muslim majority Brunei restricts public celebrations, warning of danger to Islamic faith

A social media campaign is giving Christians around the world a chance to celebrate Christmas together, even if they are restricted from doing so in public.

From Saudi Arabia to Brunei, Christians feeling the heat from local regimes are feeling free to post photos of their Christmas trees and Nativity scenes on Facebook and Twitter.

All part of the #MyTreedom campaign, posts tell stories of Yuletide trees being smuggled into Saudi Arabia, Christmas pageants in Pakistan and hopes that Christians might continue to find safe havens as the Islamic State group threatens cities like Karbala and Baghdad.

“It’s so heartwarming to see the courage and resilience they can show in the face of persecution,” Lisa Daftari, a foreign affairs journalist from Los Angeles who started the Facebook page in early December, told the Daily Mail.  It now has more than 24,000 likes. “The goal is to raise awareness about the increased threat of global Christian persecution that is often missing from political headlines these days.”

The kingdom of Brunei, which is about 65 precent Muslim, is the latest to put restrictions on celebrations of the birth of Christ. The tiny nation, on the island of Borneo, has banned public festivities, warning that putting up decorations or singing carols could threaten the country’s Muslim faith, the Telegraph reported.

The move was initiated last year, after authorities were alarmed by some people dressing up like Santa Claus. Brunei had just implemented Sharia law the previous year.

According to Agence France-Presse last year, a government statement warned that non-Islamic rituals or festivities could be seen as “propagations of religions other than Islam.”

It noted in particular: “For example, in conjunction with Christmas celebrations, Muslim children, teenagers and adults can be seen wearing hats or clothes that resemble Santa Claus.”

“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,” the statement said. “Muslims should be careful not to follow celebrations such as these that are not in any way related to Islam … and could unknowingly damage the faith of Muslims.”

 

Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.
Aleteia offers you this space to comment on articles. This space should always reflect Aleteia values.
[See Comment Policy]
Readers like you contribute to Aleteia's Mission.

Since our inception in 2012, Aleteia’s readership has grown rapidly worldwide. Our team is committed to a mission of providing articles that enrich, inspire and inform a Catholic life. That's why we want our articles to be freely accessible to everyone, but we need your help to do that. Quality journalism has a cost (more than selling ads on Aleteia can cover). That's why readers like you make a major difference by donating as little as $3 a month.