Catholic World News

Somali government banned Christmas celebrations

January 06, 2016

Somalia’s provisional government banned public celebrations of Christmas this year, citing the need to avoid inflaming Muslim sensibilties.

The new government’s policy had little practical effect in Somalia, where there are no priests and any remaining Christians have been driven underground. Bishop Giorgio Bertin, the apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, told the Italian daily La Stampa that although he visits occasionally to celebrate Mass for foreigners living in the nation’s capital, he has not met with Somali Catholics since the 1990s.

Bishop Bertin surmises that the government’s ban on Christmas celebrations “could be a warning for Somalis living in Europe or the US, who come back to Somalia for the holidays: they may have got into the habit of exchanging Christmas gestures.”

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