Brunei makes celebrating Christmas a criminal offense
Anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas in Brunei could face up to five years in prison, according to a reported declaration by the Sultan of the tiny oil-rich state.
Brunei introduced its ban on Christmas last year over fears that celebrating it “excessively and openly” could lead its Muslim population astray.
Christians and others can celebrate Christmas, but must do so in private and have to first alert the authorities.
Local Islamic religious leaders have promoted the ban, warning that adopting the trappings of Christmas is tantamount to imitation of another faith, prohibited in some interpretations of Islam.
Officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs have also reportedly visited local businesses to ensure they are not displaying Christmas decorations, including Santa hats and banners with Christmas greetings.