Merry Christmas From a Very Merry Muslim

The last time I wrote a column about saying “Merry Christmas” without feeling guilty was a few years ago and I recall noting in conclusion that I hope I don’t have to write this again because the message is loud and clear. Alas political correctness has become a Canadian epidemic and with politicians still shying away from using the word, we have no role models left.

To acknowledge that I love this time of the year and that I have already been an active participant in the launch of the Christmas season is redundant, to say the least.  I use the word “Christmas” with feeling since I’ve recently celebrated my own festival of Eid , wished my Hindu and Sikh friends a delightful Diwali,  and my Jewish friends a Happy Hannukah. Therefore, I feel we should have absolutely no qualms about wishing our Christian friends a “Merry Christmas” on their day of joy.

Just to to think that in the year 2010, when Canada is fast set to become the most pluralistic country in the world, we’re avoiding saying “Merry Christmas.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but pluralism doesn’t mean minimizing the celebrations of the majority but being inclusive about everyone’s festivals. We know that every minority celebrates with full gusto, taking time off work with pay and having their kids take time of school without any qualms. In fact, employers have to accommodate minority faiths.

But when it comes to Christmas, the story is different. A huge corporation (one of the largest in Canada) sent out a memo to its employees giving them guidelines on how to enjoy the holiday. The guidelines tell them not to use the word “Merry Christmas” lest they offend someone who doesn’t celebrate.

My fellow Canadians, allow me to express what’s offensive. Poverty is offensive; it’s insulting to live in luxury while your neighbor is starving and I respect the many charitable aspects of Christmas. Racism and discrimination are offensive and asking Christians to ignore Christmas is akin to reverse discrimination. What is truly offensive and extremely troubling is the persecution of Christians in some Muslim lands. This year Pakistani Christians are protesting the inhumane sentencing of a Christian woman, Asiya Bibi, on trumped up charges of blasphemy. While I stand in solidarity for their protest, I would like to see Canadians speak out for freedom to openly rejoice in their festival of joy. Muzzling the voices of those who wish to celebrate the best of the season and wish everyone a Merry Christmas is excessive. So what if this is not your festival – “Merry Christmas” is a greeting, not a slur, so get over your personal pettiness and become part of the cultural festivities.

A fear expressed by some grouches is that somehow children of non-Christian immigrants will be swept away by Christmas. Are parents so insecure in their own faiths that they can’t tolerate someone else’s cultural heritage or faith? Especially when we have total freedom in Canada to practice our own faith, celebrate it, hold conferences in public places, build numerous places of worship, get funding for our festivals, have public display of our icons and take public holidays? There’s something wrong with this picture.

So for Pete’s sake, leave Christmas alone. (By the way I don’t really know who Pete is but I’m told we can’t use the G word). Trying to change the rituals and values of the host country or change the name of their major celebration isn’t conducive to good manners, neighborliness, or tolerance.

Therefore I suggest we stop pussy-footing around, and start calling Christmas by its real name once and for all – and puleeeze let’s not have to do this lesson again next year! I still have to write a few dozen cards and deliver some more gifts.

So Merry Christmas and good cheer, from a Merry Muslim.

Raheel Raza is a leading Muslim reformer, award winning writer, professional speaker, diversity consultant, documentary film maker and interfaith advocate. A founding member of the Muslim Canadian Congress, she is the author of Their Jihad . . . Not My Jihad. Visit her site at RaheelRaza.com.

  • Siddi Nasranni

    Bravo, Raheel Raza. You comments are so refreshing ,Go girl, get your message on TV & Radio around the free world.

    We need to hear more people like you.

    Peace, Love,& Happiness to you.

  • YeshuaisAdonai

    Great post. I make a point of wishing people a Merry CHRISTmas and not Happy Holidays. What is the point in the greeting Happy Holidays? I respect your holiday enough to acknowledge it is a holiday but not enough to call it by its' name. ha. Anyway again great post.

  • diamondmair

    Thank you, Ms. Raza!!

    Semper Fi'
    DM

  • Underzog

    Look…. Some Liberal woman wanted me to do this. "Winter Wonderland" ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP2Sa1dqdhg ) was a request of her's.

    Merry Christmas everybody,

    Underzog

  • ObamaYoMoma

    While I agree with her sentiments on Christmas, I vehemently disagree with her sentiments of multiculturalism, diversity, and tolerance, which is exactly what led to this rejection of Christmas in the first place. Hence, at the same time I cheer her for her tolerant celebration of Christmas, I also fervently denounce her celebration of multiculturalism and multicultural values, because I understand full well how so very destructive to united homogenous societies the cult of multiculturalism is, as it’s all part of the Left’s broader international scheme to make international borders, sovereignty, and nation states relics of the past in pursuit of their multicultural dream of one world Socialist governance embracing social justice first and foremost.

    In addition, while Raheel Raza claims to be a Muhammadan, like Dr. Zudhi Jasser and the lesbian Irshad Manji, in reality she is seen as an apostate that should be executed in the eyes of the vast overwhelming majority of the world’s devout Muhammadans. Nevertheless, the lamestream media, on the other hand, presents her as the archetypal enlightened moderate, peaceful, and multicultural embracing Muhammadan that is indicative of the vast overwhelming majority of peace loving and moderate Muhammadans living in the world today waiting to immigrate to the West in mass in its own shameless promotion of mass Muhammadan immigration in the spirit of multiculturalism and tolerance.

    • B.K. Fleming

      You are an ass. Pull your head out of yourself.

  • waterwillows

    Merry Christmas Raheel Raza and a very Happy New Year to you and yours.

    BTW, the perscution and oppression of Christians is not is some Muslim lands; it is in every single one of them.

  • Waldemar

    Dear Raheel, I admire your goodness of heart as I am worried about and confused by you. Worried, because your very life is in danger. Confused, because you say you are STILL Muslim while your views are profoundly UN-Islamic.

    I love you and only hope you will have many more Merry Christmases.

    Waldemar

  • Ghostwriter

    Thanks a lot,ma'am. I,too think that the attacks on Christmas are stupid and dumb. They are also a big waste of time and money. I grew up with Christmas and I wasn't offended by any of it. Why can't the anti-Christmas people leave us the heck alone to enjoy the holiday. And,before I forget,merry Christmas.

  • traeh

    I'm grateful that Raheel is willing to put her life on the line for a liberal form of Islam — but I don't understand how she sees a liberal Islam in the core Islamic texts.

    On page 222 (326 in the Arabic) of the earliest Muslim biography of Muhammad, he affirms that those who do not follow him will be slaughtered.

    Abu jahl said to them: "Muhammad alleges that if you follow him you will be kings of the Arabs and the Persians. Then after death you will be raised to gardens like those of the Jordan. But if you do not follow him you will be slaughtered, and when you are raised from the dead you will be burned in the fire of hell." The apostle [Muhammad] came out to them with a handful of dust saying: "I do say that."

  • posse101

    i refuse to take comfort in what i'm supposed to believe here. look up Al-taqiyya in the Koran.
    you're being fooled again folks. don't be swayed by the liberal and conservative pap that there are "Millions of Moderate Muslims" out there. they want sharia, they want a caliphate… they want us dead. and no amount of "Best Wishes For The Holiday Season" will ever change that. don't be a fool!

    • Ismaeel

      We do want Caliphate and Shariah and we wii have it.
      At-taqiyya is not a Quranic term and our laws of Jihad don’t allow us to kill women , children nor destruction of the environment. We don’t really care about killing you (you’re doing a pretty good job yourselves with drugs,alchohol and gluttony) but we will defend to the death our right to govern ourselves.

  • buffman

    Mohammed was a pervert and a ruthless murderer, how can such a sane person follow this moron?

    • posse101

      see above comment.

    • Ismaeel

      Yeah right and dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki , killing 6 million jews and bombing other countries to steal their wealth are very sane things to do. The supposed “crucifiction” of an innocent man is so romanticised by the sick society that you probably think its normal for innocent people to suffer.
      Shame on you :(

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    Not wishing to doubt the sincerity and good will of this nice lady, I must admit that I see controversies in her message.

    1) As was pointed in other comments, her position in welcoming Christmas contradicts all tenets of Islam. By insisting that she does it remaining a Moslem, she confuses herself and the audience in this dark time when the clarity is so needed.

    2) She – just as the Canadian political brass – presumes as though Canada has never had any religious and cultural identity. As though the cultural identity of Canada includes everything in the world. Wrong! Canada had been a Christian nation – before it was taken by the leftist multi-culti internationalists.

    • Ismaeel

      Right on with the 1st point .
      I once heard from a Christian priest that the Muslims wanted to take over the world. Somewhat confounded I expressed that I was a Muslim and thought the world , Heaven and the Earth and everything in and between it belonged to the One Creator . This of course includes the genus homo-sapiens aka people.

      Now I understand why he was mis-informed , you Christians believe you are controlling the world don’t you? That’s why you think We want to take it away from you. The world belongs to all of us Sir because we all belong to Him.

      I’m afraid that includes Canada.

  • Ismaeel

    The ignorance of people in general regarding Islam is astonishing. A cursory
    Look into the Quran reveals that from Adam to Moses to Jesus to Muhammad (peace be upon them all) were all Muslim. The way of Life borne out by every prophet who walked this earth has been nothing other than Islam. If you are one of those miseducated and media fed critics – Put your beer down,turn your TV off for 10 seconds and google the word “Muslim” and “Islam” -I dare you.

    Hostility ensues between Muslims, christians ,jews and pagans as it has for millenia and will not desist up until The day of Judgement. The romantic notion that we can all live peacefully because of our values and humanity has been shattered by the carnage the Allied forces have wreaked all over the globe.

    Nationalism is a bank, army and Soccer Team. Real Terror spans the globe and NATO forces and the UN are immune from scrutiny. With the fall of Communism and with Capitalism in its death throes – the global village needs a new enemy- Islam is just the obvious choice. What else can you use all those shiny new weapons on?

    Our argument is clear as it has been for centuries- We oppose idolater for their worship of the material, The Jews for their crimes of usury -their rejection of both Jesus and Muhammad and their slaughter of their prophets,the christians for their idolisation of Jesus and anthropomorphiic depiction of God as a man.

    Celebrate christmas all you want but please don’t molest the children and try not to kill anyone,try not to eat any pigs so u don’t end up behaving that way and please tell the Pope not to send us Eid greetings and to pray that we don’t end up like you.
    Peace

  • Beth

    (my comment will be in several consecutive posts)

    Raheel Raza, I have no doubt (based upon your words) that you are a very nice person. But, you STILL bring your book with you – and that book is not a nice book. Regardless of your objections, that book (your book) will prove my point for me.

    Taught in the Koran:

    047.004-Beheadings, 005.041-Racism, 033.052-Gang Rape, 005.033-Crucifixions, 033.061-Genocide, 008.067-Treason {a most hypocritcal teaching – because when that very same act is carried out in a Muslim nation, death -a brutal one- is demanded for any such perpetrators)

    The Koran is online for all to see for themselves.

    Continue:

    • Paul D.

      to Beth and all. Let's not look a gift horse in the mouth. While I can see the problem with moderates vs the koran teachings and am definitely developing a problem with islam the more I read and see, at least I can say it's nice to have someone have the guts to challenge the PC world of Canada. It's time for Canadians to be "offended" that the majority has to pander to the minority. Time for us to ditch this attitude that allows idiots like MacKay to welcome the "nation of islam". No such nation exists. Neither does a specific catholic, protestant, hindu, etc. Why were they not mentioned but the intolerant, aggressive, violent and let's be frank, the nutty, political ideology known as islam, is given some higher level of recognition? So we need to take back canada and stop PC and stopping muslim immigration would be a good start. The rest of us seem to put up with each other reasonably well. Until they are gone from the world or have had some type of reformation or enlightenment then they have to treated as an enemy trying to destroy us. Unfortunately I'm sure some rather nice and non-violent people will be affected.

  • Beth

    My point is this: When you allow your book to be fed to others (especially the young), you can not control how the context will be taken by the readers. (look around the globe and ponder: the tree is known by its fruit)

    The message from the Lord of the New Testament Who condemns the act of FORCING anyone into bowing to Him says:

    Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (The same goes for nations)

    This Lord teaches…

    Rom 13:9 Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Beyond this Command – there are no more Commands)

    Your book Raheel Raza, clearly and thoroughly violates every part of that Christian Command, and on a level that even a child can understand.

    Continue:

  • Beth

    For the rest of the readers of my comment:

    The Lord of the New Testament also said:

    2Jo 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine (of Christ), RECEIVE HIM NOT into your house, neither bid him God speed

    Good advice for any society, especially after reading the Koran.

    Mat 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.

    Continue:

    • popseal

      The nuts of Islam don't fall too far from the Mohammed tree that makes them. The man was a caravan raider to finance his early 'ministry', he personally beheaded hundreds of Jewish prisoners in one of his jihads, and as an old man he had political enemies killed. Now CAIR tells us that Islam is a religion of peace.

  • Beth

    Society is given the choice to choose by the Lord of the New Testament, unlike the god of the Koran.

    The only thing required for society to make the right choice, is a little wisdom. And a choice has to be made, for free reign can not be given to both books among any society. The Koran FORCES its teachings – the New Testament does not.

    I choose the teachings of the New Testament. And so, I can not accept you Raheel Raza, because I can not accept the book that you bring with you. I never have and I never will.

    Beth

    • Ismaeel

      Its Quran and not Koran – I suppose burning it is off the cards if its online.
      You should read it more often and be open to receive REAL guidance.( Btw the Bible is online too and why you tried to reproduce it in all your posts is a mystery)

      The NIGHTMARE you allude has begun since the past 86 years that the Muslims have no Caliph. The air has been poisoned , the oceans are polluted and the whole planet is endangered
      .
      All because we have bought into the myth of Democracy and have our Continents plundered and robbed by Usury Capitalism. Pick any place on a map and you will find crimes horrific enough that have never existed in History

      Your demonisation of Islam and its text is representative of total ignorance of the barbaric society in which we live. Until you can state your arguments clearly I suggest that you reserve your judgement for Sunday schools rather than bore us with Armageddonomania.

  • Beth

    I do have to ask you Raheel Raza, Are you a True Muslim?…because…

    Your Koran teaches that the Son of God is an abomination:

    009.030 The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; in this they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

    037.151 Is it not that they say, from their own invention,

    037.152 Allah has begotten children? but they are liars!

    019.088 They say: (Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!

    019.089 Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!

    How is it Raheel Raza – you can wish any one a Merry Christmas? without violating your own religion?

    You're either for real – or you're not.

    You're either playing with fire and don't know it, or you're very good at deception.

    Which is it? I'm not asking you this question Raheel Raza, for myself – but for future generations.

    It's important.

  • Michael Harris

    Nice article. I celebrate Hannukah, however it is spelled, but have no problem in saying Merry Christmas to others who I assume are Christian. No I would not say it to Rachel Cohen or Mohammed al-Ari. I live in the US where Christmas is a federal holiday so what is the problem. Next the ACLU will sue the federal government and Eric Holder will settle and agree to call the holiday “winter holiday.” Disgusted

  • Roland

    Beth, there are many moderate Muslims (in raw numbers, although they are a low percentage) in the West who do not take the Koran any more literally than most Christians take the Bible. They can get away with this so far because they are living in Christian/secular societies.

    Their thinking is much like the thinking of pacifists. It's disconnected from reality in the same way. It makes them feel relatively good (leaving the religion would upset them immensely, but realizing its vile attributes would also upset them), and they don't have to pay a big price for it in the fetishistically 'tolerant' (culturally submissive) society they are living in. Something about the way their minds work keeps them from seeing the big picture consequences, or they just don't care. The big picture is someone else's problem.

  • Beth

    So true, Roland….(your whole post)

    "The big picture is someone else's problem" (is what they think, but…)

    "The big picture" (end result) is going to become the NIGHTMARE of all nightmares – for ALL.

    That is why it is so important to come forth and speak the truth, now, before that NIGHTMARE takes hold.

    And Raheel Raza (whether she realizes it or not) is playing her part in establishing that NIGHTMARE – for all. I will not accept her, no matter how much she smiles, or how nice she seems. And I strongly advise all others to reject her also (because of the book that she brings with her). Not for offenses, but for the protection of all future generations.

  • Beth

    (I hope that FrontPage will bear with this type of post (in consecutive order for lack of space). If not, then I apologize in advance)

    Here's one for the 'scholars' of Islam (and incidentally, also for the so called 'Christian scholars' of this world)

    Isa 21:11 The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?

    Eze 35:2 Son of man, set thy face against mount Seir, and prophesy against it,

    Isa 21:12 The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will enquire, enquire ye: return, come.

    Isa 21:13 The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim.

    Continue:

  • Beth

    Isa 21:14 The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him (David) that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread (teachings) him that fled. (This is why David refused to drink 'the water' they offered…)

    Isa 21:15 For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.

    Isa 21:16 For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail:

    Isa 21:17 And the residue of the number of archers, the mighty men of the children of Kedar, shall be diminished: for the LORD God of Israel hath spoken it.

    Joe 3:4 Yea, and what have ye to do with Me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render Me a recompence? and if ye recompense Me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head;

    Continue:

  • Beth

    Isa 14:31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come – FROM THE NORTH – a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times.

    Jer 16:14 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD (Those days are here), – - – that it shall no more be said – - -, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

    Jer 16:15 BUT, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel – from THE LAND OF THE NORTH -, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.

    Eze 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

    And NO Muslim will be able to stop it.

    The Koran forgot to mention Palestine for end time. It does mention the name Israel though (even devoted a whole chapter to the children of Israel). Therefor, all of Islam is without excuse, especially for the fact that the Bible did not forget to mention it.

    Continue:

  • Beth

    Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

    1Ti 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy (Christian),

    - according to the prophecies –

    - which went before on thee –

    - that thou by them – mightest war a good warfare;

    Are you able to understand Raheel Raza?

  • Stephen_Brady

    Every once in a while, even Hollywood gets it right. Although the movie was historically inaccurate and full of political correctness, the film "The Kingdom of Heaven" had one line in it that says it all.

    In one scene, the Princess Sybylla of Jerusalem says to Balian (the main character), "Their prophets says 'submit' … Christ says 'decide'."

    Ms. Raza needs to contemplate the differences between Judaism and Christianity, on the one side, and Islam, on the other. Indeed, she needs to consider the very reason her life is in danger. It might be an eyeopener, for her.

    That said, I appreciate her courage and wish her all the best.

  • Roland

    I could 'accept' her if she's an Ahmadi, if she would identify herself as such when she writes articles like this. The Ahmadi's formally threw out the 7th Century intolerance in Islam (google it; it's interesting) a century ago, or so, but, as you might expect, they are persecuted throughout the Muslim world. Pakistan has a law barring them from even calling themselves Muslims. Also, they are only about 1% of the world's Muslims.

    The existence and treatment of the Ahmadi's by the rest of Islam are a case of the exception proving the rule: The only true, tolerant, moderate Muslims are Muslims other Muslims don't consider Muslims.

    However, if she is Ahmadi, she should always identify herself as such. Otherwise it is reasonable to assume she's just a run of the mill, self deluding, moderate Muslim, or a deceiver.

  • ffoegthehun

    this woman appears to be nothing more than a mino, dig?

  • FunkyBird

    We like to believe what you are saying Mam but unfortunately the book you are using for your religious practice (Coran and also the Hadith) and which you shoukd know by heart says otherwise. Your fellow Muslims are bombing innocent people in "infidel" churches and the majority of Muslims are keeping silent, most probably as a sign of complicity. Come on Mam your Muslim masses burned embassies and held violent protests around the globe because of some cartoons, can't you hold one such protest to denounce the crimes that your jihadis are commitiing against the Christians in Irak for example? You should be frustrated and you should revolt against the atrocities and the Islam terrorism if you are really moderate. Do not take us for fools anymore, we know what Taqiyya means and we cannot believe your "good" intentions unless the Muslim masses around the world stand up loudly and firmly against what Islam has become today. Until then we cannot trust your kind words. The main obstacle for reforming Islam is Islam itself. A true reform means abolishing Islam! Wake up Canada and stop the islamic immigration immediately, else we are heading to a dark and violent future! What is that government waiting for?

  • FunkyBird

    We like to believe what you are saying Mam but unfortunately the book you are using for your religious practice (Coran and also the Hadith) and which you shoukd know by heart says otherwise. Your fellow Muslims are bombing innocent people in "infidel" churches and the majority of Muslims are keeping silent, most probably as a sign of complicity. Come on Mam your Muslim masses burned embassies and held violent protests around the globe because of some cartoons, can't you hold one such protest to denounce the crimes that your jihadis are commitiing against the Christians in Irak for example? You should be frustrated and you should revolt against the atrocities and the Islam terrorism if you are really moderate. Do not take us for fools anymore, we know what Taqiyya means and we cannot believe your "good" intentions unless the Muslim masses around the world stand up loudly and firmly against what Islam has become today. Until then we cannot trust your kind words. The main obstacle for reforming Islam is Islam itself. A true reform means abolishing Islam! Wake up Canada and stop the islamic immigration immediately, else we are heading to a dark and violent future! What is that government waiting for?

  • tagalog

    Other than the anniversary of the birthday of Jesus Christ, what holiday occurs on December 25? Hanukah is near, but not on the same day; Kwanzaa: who the hell knows when it occurs; it's more like some sort of manufactured festival? It's not the Saturnalia: no one celebrates that holiday any more. It's not the winter equinox. I guess December 25 is BLOODY CHRISTMAS, literally for Christ's sake. Get used to it.

  • http://staugustinegrass.weebly.com/ Margarett Lidey

    I totally understand everything you have said. In reality, I browsed through your other blogposts and I think you are definitely right. Best wishes with this blog.

  • B.K. Fleming

    I would prefer that there were no religions; but since there are they must find a way to peacefully coexist and stop screwing things up for everyone else. Especially the descendants of Abraham. Get over yourselves. You believe in a myth. Nothing more. The only hell I can believe in is the hell of having you trying to force your particular superstition on the rest of humanity. Heaven would be the absence of aforementioned hell.