BBC News

Malaysian Eid advert axed for resembling Christmas

media captionExtract of the advert withdrawn by Malaysia's TV3

A Malaysian television advert for the Muslim holiday of Eid has been scrapped after viewers said it resembled a promotion for Christmas.

Malaysia's TV3 has apologised for airing the festive clip, which wished Muslims a happy Eid al-Fitr, the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

The advert showed an elderly man taking children aboard his flying carriage and travelling across a star-filled sky.

Critics said it was too akin to the tale of Santa Claus and his sleigh.

The clip provoked considerable criticism, much of it from internet and blogging sites, which deemed it insensitive and in poor taste.

It also depicted lotuses, which some complained have links to Buddhism and Hinduism.

The station announced in a Sunday prime-time broadcast that it had removed the one-minute clip and would not show it again.

Muslims, who make up about 60% of Malaysia's 27 million people, are preparing to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which is likely to fall on Friday, depending on the Moon.