December 25, 2005
How About an Eid Sale at Macy's?
By Sabiha Khan December 25, 2005 Christians no doubt welcome the movie version of C.S. Lewis' "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," but many Muslims do as well. Neither my fellow Muslim moviegoer nor I was offended by any of the movie's Christian references, and, in fact, we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see smart storytelling on the big screen. That may come as a surprise in light of popular myths about Muslim beliefs and practices. But Islam teaches Muslims to respect and understand other religions, especially the religions of the people of the book, among them Christians and Jews. Many Muslim core values — freedom, justice and peace — are shared by followers of the world's other great religions. And Muslims revere Jesus as one prophet of God in a long line of such prophets, among them Abraham, Moses, John the Baptist and Muhammad. American Muslims believe that Christmas celebrations should not be watered down or banned because they might offend people of other faiths or non-faith. Acknowledging Christmas — or any other religious holiday — in the public square does not infringe on my sensibilities or my right to practice my religion. Indeed, many Muslim families will take their children to see the beautiful decorations of Christmas lights on homes to share the happiness they produce. Similarly, Muslims will play host to Muslim and non-Muslim friends during the Islamic celebrations of Eid-ul-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice) and Eid-ul-Fitr (Festival of the Feast). Perhaps the talk about a movement to de-Christianize Christmas aims to scare people into thinking that Christianity itself is under attack. We should be wary of those who try to turn this emotional issue into a rallying point against non-Christians or even secular Christians who don't share the religious right's agenda. Many non-Christians merely want their religious holidays to receive the same recognition and acceptance as Christmas. For instance, why shouldn't Albertson's put lamb and hummus on sale during Ramadan? Or Macy's set aside a one-day blowout sale on clothing the day before Eid? Or the local elementary school stage an Eid production with traditional songs? The Constitution states that government may not endorse one religion over another. This does not preclude the public celebration of our country's many ethnic and religious holidays. In the movie "The Chronicles of Narnia," the evil White Witch turned Narnia into a perpetually cold and wintry land where Christmas was banned until she was defeated. What a sad, long winter it would be if we Americans unwittingly distilled our diverse religious celebrations into a neutral, nondescript "Happy Holiday." http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-op-islamicxmas25dec25,0,5931968.story From the Los Angeles Times This material is made available in an effort to advance understanding of humanitarian, education, democracy, and social justice issues, religious issues, etc. It is belived that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law.