Christmas lights
Social media users are re-gifting an old claim about Christmas lights in a small town. Image by Robert McGrath/AAP PHOTOS

Council’s Christmas lights ‘ban’ is a ho, ho, hoax

Blair Simpson-Wise November 23, 2023

Christmas lights have been banned in a Queensland town after a complaint from members of a local mosque.


False. There is no ban, complaint or even a mosque in the town.

Misinformation has come early this year for one Queensland town.

A decade-old claim that a local council has banned Christmas lights due to complaints from the local Muslim community is being shared again on social media.

It’s still false. The council has never proposed a restriction on Christmas lights. There has never been a complaint and there isn’t even a mosque in the town.

The claim first appeared in a 2013 Facebook post but has gained traction once again in recent weeks.

It comes amid an increase in religious tensions in Australia as a result of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The post’s caption reads: “Time to buy some Christmas lights!! Lots of them…  this is Australia not Iraq!”

Christmas Lights Hoax Post
 The post falsely claims the local Muslim community complained about Christmas lights in the town. 

The post continues: “Christmas Lights in Cardwell, North Queensland have been banned by the local council after a complaint from the new Al Shalalah Mosque built in the town just two weeks ago.

“Iman Adnan Janutab said that the towns (sic) 100 Muslim residents found the lights to be an offensive celebration of Christmas and urged Christians to practice their beliefs privately within their homes, and not in public.

“The Council said in a statement that the request was approved because the needs of the religious minority needed to be respected. Please share THIS MESSAGE! So we can put [up] Christmas lights”. 

The original post dates back ten years but has reappeared in 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. The hoax even triggered a petition in 2015.

The Cassowary Coast Regional Council has published multiple statements addressing the claim over the years. 

Hinchinbrook Island
 The tropical Cassowary Coast Region doesn’t have a mosque, the local council says. 

A council Facebook post advised residents that the Christmas lights ban was a hoax in 2018. 

When asked about the claim, a council representative directed AAP FactCheck to a previous press release which described it as “so far from the truth it is ridiculous”.

The council has confirmed that there is no ban, no complaint and no mosque in the area. 

“Cardwell is such a friendly town, that puts out the welcome mat every Christmas for all denominations and faiths to come and celebrate within our community,” the council’s press release reads.

The Verdict

The claim Christmas lights have been banned in a Queensland town after a complaint from members of a new mosque is false. 

It is a recurring hoax that the Cassowary Coast Regional Council has consistently refuted since 2013. 

The council has never banned Christmas lights, there has been no complaint and there is no mosque. 

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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