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Are Muslims Behind the “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas” Debate?

Are Muslims Behind the “Happy Holidays” vs “Merry Christmas” Debate?
Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays to you all!

It may be true that Muslims do not observe or celebrate Christmas, but that does not mean they are offended by it. That Muslims are behind the switch to “Happy Holidays” is just a myth.

Let’s not forget that Muslims too believe in Jesus and love Him.

Around this time of the year, the “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays” debate looms over many Western countries, such as Canada.

Over last week, I had been using “Merry Christmas”, only to get “Happy Holidays” in response from almost everyone. And I figured maybe it’s because many Canadians are just not as interested in the religious aspect of Christmas any longer.

So I decided to say “Happy Holidays” instead. But just when I did that, my neighbor, very annoyed, turned around and said, “It’s Merry Christmas”!

Unfortunately, many other Canadians, like my neighbor, believe that the Muslims alone are to blame for this shift to “Happy Holidays”. They think that Muslims find Christmas decorations and greetings repulsive and are working hard to resist it, or even worse, are trying to impose their own Islamic faith onto the host culture.

It seems they have forgotten that the Puritans considered Christmas to be profane in the 17th Century and therefore banned celebrating it altogether, making December 25 a normal working day.

Also, if you google search this, you’ll find that even Christians find the “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” a useless debate.

Now that I’ve mentioned it, try google searching “Are the Muslims the ONLY reason we’re saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas”? You’ll find zero results. That is not to mention there is an online survey of 1,508 Canadians which shows that a minority of Canadians identify with the religious aspect of Christmas, whereas a majority finds it too commercial.

Indeed, here are FOUR FACTS that show why Muslims shouldn’t have issues with the celebration of Christmas.

1- Muslims Are Commanded by Their Faith to Respect Everyone’s Beliefs

God says in the Quran:

And do not insult those they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah in enmity without knowledge. Thus We have made pleasing to every community their deeds. Then to their Lord is their return, and He will inform them about what they used to do. (Noble Quran 6: 108)

2- Jesus Christ is Mentioned 25 Times in the Quran. The Story of His Birth is Also Narrated

O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah]. (Noble Quran 3: 45)

3- Muslims Believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ at the End of Times

Muslims too believe that at the end of times, Jesus Christ will descend upon the Promised Land of Palestine and restore peace to all of humanity.

4- Muslims Acknowledge Jesus Christ’s Miracles and Message to Humanity

And [make him] a messenger to the Children of Israel, [who will say], ‘Indeed I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah… (Noble Quran 3: 49)

Of course, as in any community, there may be some Muslims who don’t show much tolerance, but that doesn’t mean we put Islam on trial.

But let’s still admit that when they do so, they harm our image as well. It’s because of Muslims like them that others hate Muslims like us. Perhaps this can be a wake-up call for everyone.

At the same time, however, the if-you-don’t-like-Christmas-go-back-to-your-country rant does not seem to help either. It sounds racist and unwelcoming, especially when it’s said by non Christians, or people whose families were immigrants in the first place and worked hard to integrate into the West as well. I just don’t know where exactly the offense is coming from.

So, Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays to you all!

Last but NOT least, Peace and Prayers be Upon Jesus, Son of Mary, and Messenger of God.


About Sara Hassanien

Sara Hassanien is a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) professional, freelance editor, translator and CABC (Canada Arabic Broadcast Corporation) radio announcer. She is originally from Egypt, and lives in Montreal, Canada.

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