International

Christmas decoration gets restaurant in trouble

A special Christmas promotion aimed at foreigners at a Maldivian restaurant got the restaurant owners into deep trouble.

Islam is the official religion in Maldives and constitutionally, there is only place for Sunni Muslims; practice of other religions is prohibited. Display of other religious symbols attracts police action.

In this case, the restaurant was decorated for Christmas with items related to the celebration.

This led to protests from religious groups such as the Adhaalath Party and the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives, which led to the arrest of one restaurant employee, the independent Maldivian newspaper Minivan News reported.

“Some people gathered and protested against the decorations, because it was like celebrating Christmas,” police spokesman Ahmed Shiyam told AFP. Mr. Shiyam added one restaurant employee was taken in for questioning on Tuesday and later released.

The offending streamers were quickly removed.

The restaurant, Jade Bistro, located in front of the busy main street of Male, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, just fronting jetty Number 8, is popular for its selection of food from abroad and free wi-fi and, hence, like everything in Maldives, a trifle expensive. Jade is open throughout even during the afternoon prayers, says a review at a travel website, IgoUgo.

Management at the Jade Bistro cafe have apologised to Maldivians that may have been offended by a “festive” lunch promotion offered over the Christmas period.

Readers' comments in the Minivan News website ranged from anger to ridicule of its politicians and a few even asked if the Islamic parties would stop such celebrations in the many resort islands. There was also a dash of humour in one: “I do not see what is offensive about food, unless it is cooked very badly!.”


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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 7:08:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Christmas-decoration-gets-restaurant-in-trouble/article12719161.ece

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