BRUSSELS – The main mosque in Molenbeek district of Brussels hosted intercultural Christmas dinner on Sunday, December 18, in a unique gathering attended by hundreds of residents.
Hosted at Molenbeek’s main mosque, Al-Khalil, the event was organized by several organizations, including the municipality of Molenbeek, Saphir News reported on Sunday, December 18.
It comes a few months after the Church of St. Jean Baptiste hosted a Ramadan iftar that was attended by around 600 Muslims last July.
The initiative is not new as a similar Christmas event was organized in 2015 at the Community Maritime Center.
The municipality stressed the importance of such events in a special statement issued on Sunday.
“It is important to start and promote intercultural dialogue,” the statement read, adding that these moments deconstruct some prejudices in the community.
A 2011 estimation by Belgian academic Jan Hertogen shows that more than 900,000 people have a foreign background from Islamic countries.
A 2008 estimation shows that 6% of the Belgian population, about 628,751, is Muslim.
More than 20 percent of the population of Brussels is of Muslim origin coming from Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other African countries.
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar. Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In the Noble Qur’an, Jesus is called “Isa”. He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).