Sultan of Brunei Bans Christmas: Muslims Face 5 Years in Jail, Non-Muslims Must Celebrate In Secret

Brunei’s rich sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah had officially announced to the citizens of his country that celebrating Christmas would mean 5 years of imprisonment. As fears of Christmas affecting the faith of his country, the said sultan of Brunei has banned the public celebration of Christmas.

Muslims who are to be caught celebrating such and also goes for the non-Muslims publicly celebrating the season, could face a long prison time. While these said non-Muslims are basically allowed to celebrate Christmas, they must do this on their own and not disclose their plans to the nation’s Muslim. These make up over 65 per cent out of the 420,000 population of Brunei.

20 per cent of Brunei’s people or residents are made up of non-Muslims, including Buddhists and Christian communities. “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” This was stated by the Ministry of religious Affairs.

Violation of rules of the Penal code regarding prohibitions on propagating religion other than Islam to a Muslim is strictly implemented in this small Borneo nation.

According to the Borneo Bulletin, activities such as putting Christmas trees, singing of Catholic religious songs and sending of Christmas greetings are strictly prohibited.

“Some may think that it is a frivolous matter and should not be brought up as an issue.” the imams as quoted in the Bulletin.

“But as Muslims…we must keep it [following other religions’ celebrations] away as it could affect our Islamic faith.”

Surprisingly, some Brunei residents are ready to risk jail time by still celebrating Christmas out in the open and uploading pictures to social media sites of their celebration and as a part of #MyTreedom campaign which celebrated religious freedom.

Brunei’s Sultan is also known for stoning people if found as gay. The death penalty, such as the said death by stoning, will be introduced in the final phase a year later for offences such as adultery, sodomy and insulting the Koran or the Prophet Muhammad.

For comments and suggestions, leave a message in the comments section below. Like and Follow our Facebook page for more stories and to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings.

For comments and suggestions, leave a message in the comments section below. Like and Follow our Facebook page for more stories and to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings.

About the author