Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Somalia Reverses Its Decision to Ban Christmas and New Year's Celebrations

         Somalia government has officially dismissed the alleged ban on Christmas and New Years parties in Somalia, reversing its earlier decision which sparked speculations locally and internationally, officials said.
Religious affairs minister, Abdikadir Sheekh Ali Ibrahim, told Voice of America on Thursday that the ministry official earlier order to ban on the celebrations was only for security purpose and was not meant to restrict christian faithful in his country.
Citing Security concerns, Director general of religious affairs ministry announced a ban on Christmas or New Year's parties.
Religious affairs minister has stressed that while authorities reserve the right to cancel the party for security reasons, any Christians in Somalia, including African Union peacekeepers, diplomats and embassy officials, have the all right to celebrate the Christmas or New Year holidays.
"The troops or other Christians in Somalia are free to practice their religion on their own, because we Muslims do Eid festivals in non-Muslim countries freely," Ibrahim said. "Anyone can do a party that is not spreading another religion or ideology, and people can do the New Year celebrations." Last year Al-Shabab attacked a Christmas party at the African union based in Mogadishu, inflicting serious security concerns over such celebrations. (Source:

Monday, 14 December 2015

“Much of what Pope Francis said concerns the whole of Africa” Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban
 “What the Holy Father said in Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic - reflects much of what we, as Africans, would have wanted him to say. For example, his call to promote peace, to care for the sick, the poor, the marginalized, reflects very much what we would like to see happening in our Southern African countries. If the Pope were to visit South Africa without a doubt this is what we would want him to do”.

“Another important aspect of the Visit - the Cardinal continued - was the Pope’s acknowledgment of the role of lay Catholics, especially our catechists. Most of them are men and catechists can be a positive model for youngsters and for young adults. This is most important in South Africa where young men have no good models to follow” the Cardinal underlined.
            South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of sexual violence and recently there have also been serious incidents of xenophobia against immigrants. In this regard Cardinal Napier remarks: “at the moment the situation has calmed down, but the problem of xenophobic violence has not been solved, it has only been swept under the carpet and is ready to re-explode. Some measures have been taken, but when the majority of people live in poverty there is always a temptation to take it out on the even more disadvantaged. We have not heard of attacks on immigrants from India or Pakistan, who run commercial businesses, but we have seen instead attacks on migrants from other African countries, usually the most helpless. However measures are being taken at all levels to prevent a repeat of such incidents”.
            Cardinal Napier concludes with this consideration: “Africa possesses enormous resources, and not least, human resources. Corruption which leads to the bad use of these resources has a damaging effect on the inhabitants of our continent. We must strive to make sure that our governors are people of moral integrity, honesty and above all persons with a sense of the duty to care about the poorest members of society. I think Christianity has an important message to promote”. (Source: Agenzia Fides, December 3, 2015)