A man dressed as Santa Claus in the nation of Jordan has been arrested for “evangelizing” and “inciting sectarian strife” in the Muslim-majority nation. A translation of the Arabic report published December 24 follows:
Jordanian authorities have arrested a wanted man, a celebrity known as “Papa Noel” [Santa Claus], as he was distributing presents in various parts of the country.
Santa Claus was donning a red costume and white beard when he was detected by two patrols. A frantic manhunt ensued along the congested Zahran street, eventually leading to his capture some 90 minutes later.
He was charged with evangelizing, inciting sectarian strife, and conducting unauthorized charitable activities—all of which fall under anti-terrorism legislation. He was further charged with being costumed, something also banned by authorities and which had previously led to the arrest of the Ronald McDonald clown in the Arab nation.