Oxford: Council axes Christmas, Muslims object

A plan to axe the word Christmas from this year's city centre festive celebrations has been criticised by religious leaders.

Council chiefs have confirmed there will be no traditional Christ-mas light switch-on in Oxford this year, but instead revellers will be greeted with a 25-metre high mobile of lanterns in the shape of the solar system.

A city council spokesman confirmed this year's event would be called the "Winter Light Festival" to include all religious denominations.

Shoppers on the streets of Oxford criticised the decision to cut out the word Christmas and called for a return to tradition.

There will also be no mention of the word Christmas in the reduced "festive lights" programme to be erected in the city.

The idea is the brainchild of the charity Oxford Inspires, which has been set up to promote culture in the county and increase participation in cultural events.

Councillors have claimed they are not "Christmas killers", but the move has outraged religious leaders of all denominations in the city.

Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, said: "I'm really upset about this. This is the one occasion which everyone looks forward to in the year. Christians, Muslims and other religions all look forward to Christmas.

"This is going to be a disaster. I'm angry and very, very disappointed.

"Christmas is special and we shouldn't ignore it. Christian people should be offended and 99 per cent of people will be against this. Christmas is part of being British and we shouldn't hide it away."


Source: Oxford Mail (English)

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