Despite Popular Belief, Islam’s Not The Grinch That Stole Christmas
Political correctness has slowly secularized Christmas over the years, but should religious minorities - including Muslims - get the blame?
By Shahed Amanullah, December 21, 2004
“Merry Christmas” has given way to “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings”, and many Christians aren’t too happy about Christmas’ increasing secularization. They cite the banning of public nativity displays, curtailing of Christmas carols with religious themes, and even the banning of the “C-word” in schools.
Some of the maddest ones are those who blame “militant Muslims”, among others, for the watering down of the holiday. (Truth is, commercialism is more to blame than anything else, but that’s another story.)
It’s easy, when Muslims are the target du jour, to add one more reason to hate them. “Hate crimes against Christianity!” fumes one columnist. “If the Muslims don’t like it, let them go to a Muslim country!” writes another.
In fact, Muslims (and Jews and others) are publicly criticizing the oversensitivity going on in their names. “Denying the Christianity in Christmas… helps no one,” wrote Waleed Aly of the Islamic Council of Victoria, Australia, “This is not multiculturalism. It is anti-culturalism.” Inayat Bungawala, a spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain, agreed. “Actually, we would welcome Christmas having more a Christian content because it is more now a shopping festival.” And Muslims are even celebrating Christmas in their own ways. “We in the Muslim community express our love to this blessed baby and Messiah,” writes Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi of the Islamic House of Worship in Dearborn Heights, “and open our hearts to the Christian community and say “Merry Christmas.”
Shahed Amanullah is editor-in-chief of alt.muslim. Visit the excellent alt.muslim site at http://www.altmuslim.com/