December 25, 2010

Haia men ready to block New Year festivities


JEDDAH: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has directed all its branch offices to be on the lookout for any year-end celebration, the director general of the Haia in Makkah province Sheikh Ahmad Al-Ghamdi said in a statement to Arab News on Friday.

"The Haia will immediately dismantle any form of preparations for the celebrations but if these preparations are out of its jurisdiction, it will take up the matter with the authorities concerned," he said, pointing out such prohibitions apply to the celebration of the Hijra new year or the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Sheikh Al-Ghamdi asked the parents to consolidate the Islamic identity of their children and said Saudi citizens and Muslim expatriates should stick to the calls of their Islamic identity.

"This, however, does not prevent Muslims from participating in the celebrations of the non-Muslims on condition that this participation should not touch the basics of the Islamic faith," he said.

The Haia representatives and other authorities concerned are checking markets these days to check for goods with a New Year theme and confiscate them.

Though the authorities are continuing the random checks, it is common to find holiday decorations for sale in some commercial outlets.

The Saudi Permanent Committee for Ifta and Research has said in a fatwa attributed to its chairman Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh that it was against Islam to memorialize the births of prophets, the advent of new calendar years or other holidays.

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