Senior Cleric Blows Out Candles on Saudi Birthday Parties, Declaring Them Un-Islamic

[AP/Chicago Tribune] Donna Abu-Nasr - Saudi Arabia's most senior Muslim cleric, Sheik Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik, recently denounced birthday parties as an unwanted foreign influence. Saudi Arabia's top religious authority said such celebrations have no place in Islam and gave a list of foreign customs he finds unacceptable. "Christians have Mother's Day, an eid (feast) for trees, and an eid for every occasion," al-Sheik told the newspaper Al-Madina. "And on every birthday, candles are lit and food is given out." The Saudi ban on birthdays is in line with the strict interpretation of Islam followed by the conservative Wahhabi sect dominant in the kingdom. All Christian celebrations - and even most Muslim feasts celebrated elsewhere in the Islamic world - are prohibited.

2008-09-05 01:00:00

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