ATP - Somalia has banned Christmas and New Year celebrations because they are 'contrary to Islamic culture' – days after a similar move by the Sultan of Brunei.
Director General of Somalia's Ministry of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow, warned that security forces would break-up any gatherings held in the capital Mogadishu.
He said: 'All events related to Christmas and New Year celebrations are contrary to Islamic culture, which could damage aqidah (faith) of the Muslim community.
'There should be no activity at all.'
Sheikh Nur Barud Gurhan, deputy chairman of the Supreme Religious Council of Somalia, said Christian events might provoke further attacks by the Muslim terror group Al Shabaab, it was reported by Ugandan daily New Vision.
He said: 'We Islamic Scholars are warning against the celebration of such events which are not relevant to the principles of our religion. Such events give also Al Shabaab to carry out attacks.'
In the latest attack, on Monday, passengers on board a bus bravely defied Al-Shabaab militants who ordered them to sacrifice the Christians on board during a deadly standoff in Kenya.
When the 10 Al-Shabaab militants stormed the bus in the country's north, they demanded Muslim passengers separate themselves from the Christians on board.
But the passengers refused - even giving some of their fellow travellers Islamic articles of clothing to wear so they could not be distinguished.