Christmas isn't halal enough for Qatar

Christmas isn't halal enough for Qatar
Blog: Several nursery schools in Qatar have cancelled festive celebrations at the last minute following a directive from the government reminding them not to hold "non-Islamic rituals".
2 min read
10 Dec, 2015
File Photo: 'Non-Islamic rituals' have been banned in Qatari nurseries [Getty]

Authorities in Qatar have reminded owners of children's nurseries not to hold Christmas celebrations - ruining the planned celebrations at several schools.

Qatar's Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs this week sent out an Arabic-language circular to nursery schools around the country telling them not hold "non-Islamic rituals", according to Doha News.

"We have sent out a memo to all nurseries regarding celebrating non-Islamic rituals," the ministry tweeted on Wednesday.

"The law prohibits all nurseries from celebrating non-Islamic rituals because it violates the Qatari constitution and Law No.1 of 2014," the ministry added.

The two-page memo referenced the first article of Qatar's constitution, which defines the country as an Arab state that practices Islam and is primarily governed by Sharia law.

It also mentioned article 22 which states: "The State shall provide care for the young and protect them from corruption, exploitation, and the evils of physical, mental and spiritual neglect."

Fun First nursery in Doha had to make a last minute cancellation for festive events that were set to take place on Thursday.

      Qatar opened its first church in 2008 [Getty]

"As per the directives of Ministry of Social affairs, our Winter Party, which was supposed to be tomorrow, is cancelled," the nursery said on its Facebook page.

Many social media users in Qatar expressed support for the authorities' decision to cancel the festivities.

"Thanks for your efforts to keep our young people from having any prejudices towards their religion, beliefs and education in general," Qatari media commentator Faisal Marzouqi tweeted to the ministry.

Hussein Al Ishaq said: "Well done God bless you. May God protect us and protect our children and our country from the cultural invasion and customs that go against our religion."

Mariam al-Haroon said: "The same school celebrates Halloween under the name 'the magical forest'. We have become a minority and feel like foreigners in our own country."

Thirteen percent of Qatar's population are Christians, all of whom are foreign expatriates.

The first church in Qatar opened its doors to worshippers in March 2008 after the country's emir issued decrees allowing the allocation of land for churches.

The church structure is discreet and Christian symbols are not displayed on the outside of the building.

Christmas trees, lights and decorations do, however, adorn Qatar's many shopping malls, cafes and public spaces.