Muslims Have Mixed Views and Practices Regarding Christmas

December 27, 2003

Source: The Daily Star

On December 27, 2003 The Daily Star ran a story on Muslims in Lebanon viewed and embraced or rejected Christmas traditions: "Wandering about the overwhelmingly Muslim southern suburbs of Beirut during the lead-up to Christmas, Ramadan decorations were still up in the streets and in shop windows. However, in the shop window of the Karout Grand Supermarket in the suburb of Haret Hreik, there was a lit-up artificial Christmas tree vying for window space with Islamic quotations, a stenciled picture of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock Mosque and palm trees dripping with dates. This shop was far from an exception in having Christmas decorations, but the trend of having such decorations appears to be confined to supermarkets and toy shops...Throughout the suburbs, mini-buses and cars can be seen with red Santa hats covering the headrests, and in some vehicles small Santa decorations hang from rear-view mirrors. Is this a reflection of Christmas becoming synonymous with ardent commercialism and a diminishing spirituality, or is it an identification of religious tolerance?" Some of the Muslims interviewed equated Christmas with commercialism, while others focused on the religious signifiance, either refusing to celebrate it for that reason, or celebrating it as a way to express tolerance, citing Islam's recognition of Jesus as a great prophet who will return at the end of the world.