Muslims around the world respond to the Christmas season

Muslims are interacting with Christian communities around the world and in the United States just in time for the holiday season. But what are they saying? Photo: Regent Street, London, England, showing the Christmas lights (Wikimedia Commons)

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2013 — The Muslim Council of Britain has released a series of advertisements detailing its response to Christmas celebrations, emphatically stating that it has no problem with any related celebrations or decorations.  The ads were released in response to recent efforts to hide or obfuscate Christmas festivities and related festivities. Many in the non-Muslim community believe that Muslims are opposed to the commemoration of the holiday, or offended by decorative items in shops or offices.

In one of its advertisements, the MCB says:

“Who wants to ban Christmas? Not Muslims.

So, put up the Christmas tree, prepare the roast, wrap the presents, and spread the Yuletide joy.

None of us will be offended if you go ahead and enjoy the Christmas cheer.

We’ll remember too the blessings Jesus gave to all of us. He was, after all, an important Prophet to Muslims.

So whether you are celebrating Christmas or not, may these holidays bring joy and happiness to you and your loved ones.

Keep calm, and carry on.

-  The Muslim Council of Britain”

An advertisement from the Muslim Council of Britain.


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The Council has several alternate advertisements with the same or similar messages, encouraging Christians to not worry about the sentiments of Muslims regarding Christmas, particularly because Muslims also revere Jesus.

Muslims point to verses in the Quran that praise not only Jesus, but Christians as well.

“Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians — whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor shall they grieve” (Quran: Chapter 2, Verse 62)

“…and nearest among them in love to the believers will you find those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant” (Quran Chapter 5, Verse 82).

The effort by the Muslim Council of Britain follows similar efforts by the Muslim community of the Philippines to get along with their Christian neighbors. In the Santa Catalina district of Zamboanga City, Philippines, the local Christian community was surprised to learn that a group of Muslims announced their intention to rebuild the “Christ the King” chapel.

The chapel was mostly destroyed in a battle between government forces and rebels in the country.

Jimmy Villaflores, Santa Catalina barangay (village) head, said to Inquirer.net “We have not heard of any Muslim helping build a chapel before… We are very happy about it. Santa Catalina residents are deeply touched by their efforts. We really appreciate how our Muslim brothers and sisters are helping us … Barely a month since the work began our chapel is about 90 percent completed already.”

“I did not want the general Christian community to look down on us as bad people because we were all victims,” said retired police Senior Superintendent Julmunier Jubail, a Muslim, to Inquirer.net. “We do hope that in our own small ways of reaching out, something beautiful will come out.”

A Christian resident of Zambaonga responded to Jubail, saying to Inquirer.net “Not all Muslims are bad and not all Christians are good. The rebuilding of our chapel by the Muslims is indication enough that they were not bad and they want to lift our spirits and our hope [for peace].”

In the United States, the Christian community also reached out to Muslims, when Santa Claus visited an elementary school within a predominantly Muslim community in Dearborn, MI and handed out presents.  In preparation, “Santa” learned a few words of Arabic to speak with the small children.

Astonished, one little boy asked “Is Santa Arab?”

To that question, the debate rages on in the media.


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Rahat Husain

Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues.

 

In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.

 

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