Somalia has banned the celebration of Christmas – for the first time since the last central government collapsed in 1991.

“We alert fellow Muslims in Somalia that some festivities to mark Christian Days will take place around the world in this week,” Sheikh Ali Dhere told a press conference. “It is prohibited to celebrate those days in this country.”

He did not say whether or not non-Muslim foreign workers (eg. UN peacekeepers, African Union forces, aid and development personnel) or residents were permitted to celebrate.

Brunei has banned Christmas festivities for the second year in a row. The punishment for celebrating Christmas is a fine of $20,000, up to five years in prison, or both.

Non-Muslims in Brunei can celebrate Christmas, but must do so in private and alert the authorities beforehand.

Local Muslim leaders have promoted the ban, but some Brunei residents have joined a social media campaign resisting the ban, using the hashtag #MyTreedom.

Sources: Daily Nation, The Independent, Borneo Bulletin