Netherlands: Why doesn't Saint Nicholas visit the mosque?
Rapper Erkan Coskunsu (33) says the discussion about the cross on Saint Nicholas' miter is a nonsensical discussion. The Hengelo resident is Muslim, but he's very sure in his response: hands off the Saint and his miter. "That cross simply belongs on."
Opponents of the cross say that it could be insulting to other religions. Erkan Coskunsu completely disagrees. He says that as a Muslim he's run into a lot of things and had trouble with it. Saint Nicholas is an old Dutch children's holiday. You should keep off it and the cross should stay on. He says that he sees additional values that it has a Christian tint to it.
He cites a known joke: "Why does't Saint Nicholas ever come to the mosque? Answer: there are too many shoes outside.." [Saint Nicholas leaves presents in the children's shoes].
In order to make a positive contribution to the discussion, he decided to invite Saint Nicholas on December 4th, during Friday prayers, to come to the mosque and fill the shoes with something sweet. [Sinterklaas is Dec. 5th]
The Turkish Ayasofya mosque is therefore organizing a Sinterklaas party. Halit Tule, board member of the cultural association for Islam in Hengelo has no objections and explains why she agreed to it. "It's a gesture of overture. We're open to Dutch culture. Moreover the Sinterklaas festival is a festival in to which we'd like to send our children. And for that matter.. Saint Nicholas originally comes from Turkey. In the village of Demre in the southwestern coast of Turkey there's an ancient church dedicated to Saint Nicholas. Many Western tourists, including Christian pilgrims, visit this beautiful place. Every culture has their own folk heroes. we have Nasreddin Hodja, who is similar to Saint Nicholas with his humor."
Tule says that the association is now preparing the event which will take place Friday, December 4th.
Sources: Tubantia, NIO