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Saudi bans non-Islamic holidays

November 18, 2016 at 4:30 pm

A Saudi teacher helping his pupils [Alkhaleejonline]

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education has banned schools from marking non-Islamic occasions and giving non-Islamic holidays such as Christmas, Easter and New Year.

The ban includes forbidding schools from permitting students to take holidays on such occasions or changing the dates of exams to suit non-Islamic holidays.

The Ministry of Education has also warned that all schools must stick to the academic calendars for exams and holidays. While state-owned schools only mark Islamic holidays, international schools had the luxury of allowing students to have Christmas and Easter holidays.

The Ministry of Education has also warned that action will be taken against schools that violate the ban, which could result in the school’s licence being revoked.

The Saudi government has previously banned schools from allowing Shia Muslim students to take exemptions from school or their exams during Ashura. This sparked protests across the country. It is estimated that 10 to 15 per cent of the Saudi native population follows the Shia sect of Islam.