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The New Arab

IS declares war on Father Christmas

IS are calling Santa Claus a corrupting influence on youth [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 December, 2016

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Islamic State group militants in Iraq are preaching about the 'evils' of Santa to children, describing the fictional character as a 'red devil' who 'distributes wine' and spreads vice.
The Islamic State group has a new enemy in its sights - Santa Claus.

During the festive period IS members have been spreading an anti-Christmas message with propaganda leaflets in Mosul speaking about the "evils" of Father Christmas.

The militant group claims describes Father Christmas as a "red devil", invented by the West to "rob the minds" of young Muslims and turn them away from Islam.

The leaflet also went on to say that Santa distributes wine and other forms of "vice", a source told Iraqi news site al-Sumaria.

"In the past two years of controlling Mosul, IS prohibited the celebration of Christmas, but never directly specified the Santa Claus character," the source told the news site.

"In its reasoning, IS portrayed Santa Claus as someone who handed out alcohol and pushed youths towards sin and promiscuity. IS considered imitating Santa Claus as debauchery and immorality."

Iraqi and Syrian Christians have been severly persecuted under IS rule, with the minority given the choice of leaving the territories, converting to Islam, paying a special tax, or death. Most chose to leave IS' self-described "caliphate".

An IS affiliate in Egypt also targeted a church in Cairo with a bomb blast killing 25 people.

As the proclamation was made, a photo was released by the US defence department showing a pilot in the US-led anti-IS coalition wearing a Santa hat in a F-16 cockpit.

The American airman is seen giving the thumbs up to the camera on Christmas Day, when US-led forces launched 18 air strikes on IS positions in Iraq and Syria.

The joint US-Canadian operated North American Aerospace Defense Command also ran a "Santa Tracker" this year, which allowed children across the world to watch Father Christmas fly across the world delivering presents.

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