The Government of Somalia has banned celebrations of Christmas and New Year in the Muslim majority country, it has emerged.
The Government said that the ban was necessary as 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 on Tuesday.
Sheikh Mohamed Khayrow said security forces had been ordered to break up any such celebrations. “There should be no activity at all,” he said.
Shebab, East Africa’s Al-Qaeda branch, is headquartered in Somalia. Last year Shebab militants launched a Christmas attack on Mogadishu airport that killed at least 12 people.
Foreign diplomats, aid workers and soldiers living in the fortified airport compound are however permitted to hold private parties.