» 12/22/2015, 00.00
Brunei bans Christmas, violators can get up to five years in prison (and fines)
Backed by the country’s Islamic leaders, Brunei’s sultan has banned Christian symbols and celebrations. Violators can be fined US$ 20,000 or get up to five years in jail. The authorities fear Christmas might “damage the aqidah (beliefs) of the Muslim community." However, some have dared to challenge the ban on social media with the #MyTreedom hashtag.
The Sultanate of Brunei to introduce Sharia-based rules
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah's policy of 'Islamisation' continues. Within six months, rules such as stoning for adultery and amputation for thieves will come into force. The new Penal Code will apply only to Muslims, but residents fear greater repression.
Church in Brunei, a young and "missionary” reality
The Apostolic Vicar Msgr. Cornelius Sim tells of a really small, but " prosperous and lively” reality . The prelate thanked the community of Filipino immigrants who make the life of the Church "active", and his hopes for "new vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life”. To date, together with Bishop there are only three priests to care for 20 thousand people.
For the apostolic vicar to Brunei, Christmas celebrations went well despite the ban
According to Mgr Cornelius Sim, the ban in the Sultanate is not that bad, and mostly touches Muslims. Catholics “have always been able to practice their faith publicly”. Banning Jingle Bells and Santa Claus did not negatively impact Christian celebrations. Parishes organised the annual observance on 25 December for foreign migrants, especially those from the Philippines.
06/05/2014 BRUNEI - ISLAM
Celebrities and business leaders come out against Brunei sultan's decision to introduce Sharia
Virgin Group founder and owner Richard Branson decides to boycott a hotel chain linked to the sultanate. Human rights groups and associations take aim at the implementation of Islamic law, which is increasingly threatening the religious freedom of non-Muslims.
29/01/2014 BRUNEI - ISLAM
Apostolic Vicar: Sharia as a challenge and opportunity for Catholics in Brunei
Mgr Cornelius Sim calls for a "creative" response to the Sultanate's growing Islamisation. In April, Sharia law will come into force and some inhabitants are afraid of becoming "second class citizens", which is why they are not excluding the possibility of emigration. However, the prelate is unruffled, confident about the future of the Church.
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