Norway: "Naturally we celebrate Christmas"

Norway: "Naturally we celebrate Christmas"

Yousuf al-Qaradawi got a lot of flack from Westerners for saying Muslims shouldn't openly celebrate Christmas in Muslim countries. But how could he not? Christmas is one of the most Christian holidays there is. Why should Muslims celebrate it?

Muslims face an even greater problem in the West. Is Christmas a Christian or national holiday?

Radio Netherlands reports on how Muslims in Germany celebrate Christmas:

Modern-day Christmas has come to be as much about presents as religion. And this can cause problems for Muslim families whose children feel left out when their Christian friends and schoolfellows are being showered with goodies. Idan Suer, the son of Turkish immigrants and a sociology lecturer at one of Berlin’s universities, describes how a friend of his deals with the situation.

"Her family and some other Turkish families come together on Christmas Eve and they buy presents for their children. They do a Turkish version of Christmas. They have Turkish music, Turkish food and of course Santa Claus speaks Turkish as well. That is not a religious thing; it’s just making the children happy and buying them little gifts."


"Naturally" is the answer whenever somebody asks Norwegian-Pakistani Yousuf Gilani if he celebrates Christmas.

"It's impossible not to be infected by the good Christmas atmosphere," says the Drammen resident.

The 37 year old went to buy plastic Christmas trees and Christmas presents for his family. The only difference from the average Norwegian Christmas home is that the traditional ribs are replaced by lamb curry.

Gilani explains with a smile that this year they'll also have julenisse (Santa Claus), but he won't be White.

The Muslim admits he's a little tired of the well-intentioned question which often comes from colleagues, friends and acquaintances.

Therefore he wrote a column in Klassekampen which he concludes with: "One doesn't have to be Christan or have a religious connection to celebrate Christmas."

"Celebrating Christmas is a very nice tradition which has a message of love, of caring for each other and showing respect. Nobody can be hurt by that," says Gilani, who thinks Islam and Christianity are based on the same values.

He says that many of his Muslim peers celebrate Christmas, and encourages everybody to celebrate, in their own way.

He says it could be an alternative Christmas. "It doesn't necessarily have to be that we sing Christmas songs, but we have family gatherings with presents, and everybody has a good time," says the father to two.

He says it's important to share in each other's holidays such as Christmas and Eid, without having to convert to the other's religion.

"It's the best measure of inclusion in a multicultural society," concludes Gilani.

"Merry Christmas - inshallah! Directly translated it means 'if God wills'," ends Gilani once he finishes the last of Christmas shopping.

Source: NRK (Norwegian)

No comments: