Jail For Wearing Santa Hats! Sultan Of Brunei Bans Christmas Celebrations, Greetings

| December 22 , 2015 , 12:40 IST
Sultan-Brunei Greeting someone on Christmas or even wearing a Santa Claus hat may land one in jail in Brunei. The country has banned public celebrations of Christmas, including sending festive greetings and the wearing of Santa Claus hats. The Sultan of Brunei has declared that anyone found illegally celebrating Christmas could face a five year jail sentence. "These enforcement measures are … intended to control the act of celebrating Christmas excessively and openly, which could damage the aqidah (beliefs) of the Muslim community," the Ministry of Religious Affairs said in a statement explaining the edict. Muslims seen celebrating Christmas and non Muslims found to be organising celebrations could face up to five years jail. The country's non-Muslims, who comprise 32 per cent of the 420,000 population, can celebrate Christmas in their own communities but in 'secret'. Brunei's rulers do not enforce the harsh Islamic orthodoxies of countries like Saudi Arabia. There are no sanctions for women who do not wear headscarves and while the sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned, foreigners are allowed to import and drink it behind closed doors.