It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in Saudi?

While an article just published in the NY Times points to the relaxing of measures against celebrating the Christian holiday, other media outlets point to bans of trees and ornaments by local authorities.
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas... in Saudi?

The NY Times asked, and answered, in its 'Saudi Arabia Dispatch' on December 24th "How Do Saudis Celebrate Christmas? Quietly, but Less So." Photos of stores in Riyadh and Jeddah showing holiday decorations and trees were featured in the piece, which had a mirrored version in the Wall Street Journal.

But Gulf News announced from Cairo, on December 26th that Saudi authorities, in particular the Saudi Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (ZATCA), had dispelled the rumours of a relaxation of rules involving Christmas trees and decorations by releasing a statement that stressed that the “Importation of the Christmas tree or any other non-Islamic symbols is banned,” in the Kingdom.

In recent times, under the de-facto rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has seen many outdated rules and regulations abolished and the move has made MBS, as he is known, very popular among the young, upwardly mobile Saudi population.

So, while the holiday may still be celebrated surreptitiously in Saudi, it may not be under the official auspices of the authorities. But that never stopped Santa from dropping down a chimney or two, did it?

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