SHARIA POLICE RULE NO CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS ON BUILDINGS IN BRUNEI

Sharia police rule no Christmas decorations on buildings in brunei (Photo: itar-tass)
Sharia police rule no Christmas decorations on buildings in Brunei. (Photo: itar-tass)

Bandar Seri Begawan, 4 Rabi’ul Awwal 1436/26 December 2014 (MINA) — Sharia police in Brunei have banned putting Christmas decorations on buildings in the Brunei capital. Police have delivered a reprimand to owners of restaurants and cafes who had hung up traditional Christmas decorations in their establishments in the run-up to the New Year celebrations, BruDirect news portal said Wednesday.

Sharia police issued a warning to restaurant managers that the use of Christmas decorations challenges the norms of Islam, said an employee on staff of one of the restaurants. During a police raid policemen made restaurant owners remove the Christmas symbols and warned that otherwise, they would face a criminal prosecution for violation of the law, the source said.

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The demonstration of Christian symbols in public was banned by law and endorsed in the Criminal Code adopted in Brunei in 2013 and which came into force as of May 1, 2014. People who violate the law face a $15,000 fine and imprisonment for a term of up to five years, itar-tass quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting on Thursday.

The culture of Brunei is predominantly Malay (reflecting its ethnicity), with heavy influences from Islam, but is seen as much more conservative than Indonesia and Malaysia. Influences to Bruneian culture come from the Malay cultures of the Malay Archipelago. Four periods of cultural influence have occurred, animist, Hindu, Islamic, and Western.

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Islam had a very strong influence, and was adopted as Brunei’s ideology and philosophy. Brunei’s official main language is the Malay language but the English language is also widely spoken as it is considered a s a compulsory subject in majority of the schools.

As a Sharia country, the sale and public consumption of alcohol is banned. Non-Muslims are allowed to bring in a limited amount of alcohol from their point of embarkation overseas for their own private consumption.

The political system in the country is governed by the constitution and the national tradition of the Malay Islamic Monarchy, the concept of Melayu Islam Beraja (MIB). The three components of MIB cover Malay culture, Islamic religion, and the political framework under the monarchy. It has a legal system based on English common law, although Islamic shariah law supersedes this in some cases.(T/P009/P3)

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Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)