News Daily Spot: Somalia bans celebrations of Christmas and New Year

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Somalia bans celebrations of Christmas and New Year

The Somali government on Tuesday banned Christmas celebrations and New Year in the Muslim-majority country, explaining that could raise the Shebab Islamist attacks.

"All events related to the celebrations of Christmas and New Year are contrary to Islamic culture and could harm the faith of the Muslim community," he told reporters Khayrow Sheikh Mohamed, director general of the Ministry of Religious Affairs .

"There should no activity will be done," he said, adding that security forces had been ordered to cease any such conclusion.

Bur Sheikh Barud Gurhan, the Supreme Religious Council of Somalia, explained that non-Muslim holidays could incur the wrath of the Shebab Islamists affiliated with al Qaida.

"We caution against celebrations of these festivals that have no relation to the principles of our religion," said Gurhan, noting that this might encourage Shebab "perpetrate attacks."

Last year, Shebab Islamists launched an attack at Christmas against the Mogadishu airport killed at least 12 dead.

Somalia is at least the second predominantly Muslim country that bans Christmas this year, after the Sultanate of Brunei announced a similar ban. Somalia applied the same as in 2013.

The country follows the Islamic calendar does not recognize the January 1 as the beginning of the year.

There are not nearly Christians in Somalia. In the capital Mogadishu, a Catholic cathedral built by the Italians and destroyed by a bombing remains, however, a point of reference.

However, foreign diplomats, aid workers and soldiers living in an enclosure surrounded by airport security are allowed to organize private parties.

The Shebab, driven from Mogadishu in mid-2011, and after its main bastions of central and southern Somalia, still control large rural areas, from where they conduct guerrilla operations and suicide attacks, sometimes even in the Somali capital - against the symbols of the country unstable government or military force against the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) that support it. AFP

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