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Islam Say Merry Christmas Without Worry

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Say Merry Christmas Without Worry
    http://www.thespec.com/opinion/article/298977--say-merry-christmas-without-worry

    As an observant Muslim, I want to take this opportunity to wish all my Christian and Jewish brothers and sisters a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah. I believe that Christmas, more than any other religious holiday, has been under attack the last few years, and I want to lend my support to those who want to wish each other Merry Christmas.

    For a pluralistic nation that prides itself on embracing freedom of expression and an unofficial separation of church and state, the widespread public celebration of Christmas poses a unique quandary.

    The solution of course is to look to our foundation as a pluralistic nation that embraces freedoms of expression and religion, but be cognizant that we do not impose our beliefs on other people. We have to embrace the religions and cultures of everyone; that means embrace with both arms! Let’s celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Eid and Diwali as joyous holidays and without worry of offence.

    Successive years of legal action by civil libertarians in the U.S., and a less formal campaign in Canada, have diminished the public promotion of all things Christmas, giving rise to the more politically correct — and judicially safe — “holiday” observances.

    Efforts to remove Christmas from the holiday season have bordered on ridiculous. City halls and provincial legislatures have erected “holiday trees.” A Toronto judge had a Christmas tree removed from a courthouse’s reception area to the staff room to avoid offending non-Christians. Schools have “winter family festivals” rather than Christmas concerts, at which carols and Santa songs are avoided. Hamilton city hall has removed the large Merry Christmas sign from the escarpment. De-legitimizing the religious aspects of Christmas robs all of us of our respective religious and cultural freedoms.

    People are starting to get fed up and are revolting against what they see as hypersensitivity or political correctness gone amok. My issue is that the people that are often the targets of these revolts — Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus — are not the ones who are pushing the politically correct agenda. These communities do not want to see Christmas undone; rather, they want a seat at the religious celebration table. In other words, the inevitable backlash against these minority religious communities is unfair and unwarranted.

    It seems that those who want to dilute the Christmas aspects of December fall into two broad categories: Well-intentioned and considerate Christians who do not want to offend non-Christians by having such overt displays of their religion since we live in a multicultural and multi-denominational society; and lapsed Christians or atheists who have left their church and who want to see any and all evidence of public religion removed. Their understanding of secularism is the eradication of all things religious, including Christmas.

    The point is that those who have declared war on Christmas are not Muslims, Hindus or Sikhs (even though we often get blamed for it). The position of these three minority faith communities (and perhaps other faith communities as well) is that everyone should be entitled to celebrate their religious holidays in the public domain.

    In other words, instead of eradicating all evidence of religious celebrations, let’s recognize and celebrate them all, and not exclude any. Christians should not have to be asked to dilute their religious observances on Christmas. At the same time, we need to start inviting Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus to offer their prayers and graces at community functions.

    So feel free to wish your neighbour/friend/co-worker a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Joyful Kwanza, Eid Mubarak, Happy Diwali and/or a Happy New Year. If someone wishes you a Merry Christmas, Eid Mubarak or Happy Diwali, do not be offended. They are merely trying to share their joy with you, not trying to convert you to their beliefs.

    A true pluralistic society embraces all religious expressions.

    Freelance columnist Hussein Hamdani lives in Burlington, and works as a lawyer in Hamilton.
     
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  3. Siri Kamala

    Siri Kamala United States
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    I so agree with this article! My boyfriend and I were both raised as Christians here in the US, but neither of us is Christian now. We were just discussing the other day, though, how much we both still enjoy the *cultural* aspects of Christmas and the fond and happy memories we both have of hymns we sang, decorations hung on the mantle and the tree, festive meals and family gatherings, the exchange of gifts.

    So our choice will be to do what many of my friends who practice Reform Judaism do -- celebrate Christmas as a cultural holiday rather than as a religious holiday. It's what we have to work with here in the US, and it's what keeps us closely connected to our families and friends.

    And there are, after all, those very ... interesting... folks out there who are *positive* that Guru Nanak was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ... (Dead link removed.)

    As my beau said when I shared that link with him, "Wow. That certainly would stand millennialism on it's ear: no Rapture, no Tribulation, no Antichrist, no thousand years, no New Jerusalem..." LOL!

    Personally I could do without all that so it would suit me just fine if it were true. ;-)
     
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    #2 Siri Kamala, Dec 9, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2010
  4. Archived_Member16

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  5. Siri Kamala

    Siri Kamala United States
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    (Last edited by Aman Singh; Today at 09:43 AM. Reason: Dead link removed. Rajinder Nijjher is a banned SPN'er )

    Oops! My bad. Sorry about that. I had no idea. :p I mostly thought it was funny...(as in odd, mostly, though perhaps even a little "ha ha ha" funny as well).
     
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  6. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    well, rajinder nijjher is a hopeless falla, i hope you did not mind... :)
     
  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Rajinder Nijjer ji was banned from SPN but that did not stop him. He continued on a YouTube channel doing his self-appointed duty of finding several of our members "spiritually dead." Actually it was a week or so of hilarity. However, although we respect his right to his opinion, we could not let him continually provide misguided understandings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Sikhism. As I said -- that did not stop him.

    Thank you for your good natured response to the edit.
     
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  8. Siri Kamala

    Siri Kamala United States
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    spnadmin ji and Aman Singh ji, I could not take it personally as I know it was not intended personally. You all have been nothing but kind, helpful, and respectful to me in my time here, so I trust that edits like that will be made for a very good reason and not out of capriciousness or a desire to censor people.

    That aside, I've been in your shoes before as List Owner for a few smaller Yahoo Groups, and every now and then things would become very contentious -- someone would use inappropriate language or would send an spam link to the list. It's not always easy to judge when to respect someone's right to free speech and when their words and behaviors are impinging on the ability of others to enjoy the group.

    One of my general List Rules was that the expectation was that people must always treat one another with civility and respect at a bare minimum, and that I hoped everyone would try to stretch beyond that to be *kind* as well.

    Overall those expectations were met. People who did not like conforming to that standard either left of their own accord or they were shown the door. Those who remained generally got along splendidly and set such a wonderful example for any new members that the tone was set from their first day and, as a rule, even new members seemed to almost automatically conform their behavior to fit the polite and respectful demeanor of the other members.

    Funny how that works, isn't it? ;-)

    I know must be a science to building communities (both online and IRL) that last and function in a healthy, constructive way -- eventually someone will offer a PhD in that and we'll get really good at it. I think we're still a ways off from that though...

    In the meantime, part of why I decided to become a professional Mediator is that I wanted to make sure that my own personal contribution to conflicts experienced by others could be both positive and omnipartial.

    Text is a particularly difficult medium to work with as it strips away all the tools we usually use to communicate positive emotional content -- tone of voice, facial expression, body language... If people are struggling with a very difficult conflict, text is usually the worst possible medium for them to use in trying to sort out that conflict.

    That fact alone can make running a large and diverse discussion board like this a LOT of work so... much respect to both of you for all you do. You do such a fabulous job here. I've seen a lot of DB's in my time and this is one of the most well run I've come across. kudihug
     
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