Canadian Muslims Debate Christmas

Muslims in Canada are speaking out about Christmas. And it is a subject they can hardly agree on.

A Canadian mosque has warned followers that wishing someone a Merry Christmas is like congratulating a murderer, reports the Toronto Star.

The e-mailed alert went out on the Khalid Bin Al-Walid mosque’s Internet message service on Christmas day, stating that congratulating non-Muslims on their festivals “is like congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone or having illicit sexual relations and so on.”

It instructs its readers to stop greeting colleagues on Christmas with “Merry Christmas” and to avoid Christmas parties.

“If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to Allah,” the message states, according to the Star. “Whoever wishes someone a ‘Merry Christmas’ exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allah,” the notice continues.

But not all Muslims agree with such sentiments.

Members of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a group formed six months ago to promote a liberal and pluralistic Islam in Canada, denounced the message as shameful hate-mongering.

“These are the kind of bigots we don’t need in our religion and we don’t need in Canada,” Syed Sohail Raza told the Star.

Raza is a founding member of the group who fled Pakistan for Canada in 1989 to escape religious persecution.

“Although Canada is a democratic society, there is no room for hate-mongering and inciting people against other faiths. If I can’t wish you a ‘Merry Christmas’ on your most holy day, what kind of relationship am I going to form with co-workers and neighbors and with school children? This is the kind of thing that has to stop,” he said.

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