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Sajeela Hassan ponders on the significance of sharing Christmas greetings on social cohesion.

As an Ahmadi Muslim, Islam teaches us to respect all faiths and therefore, the customs coming with them. In the Christian calendar, Christmas is probably the most important day of the year and is celebrated with great importance all throughout the world.

At this time of year, Muslims and non-Christians in general are asked questions about their beliefs regarding Christmas and whether they are permitted to say a casual ‘Merry Christmas’ or not. The Holy Quran constantly prohibits discrimination of any kind. For Ahmadi Muslims, this time of year should be a reminder of the Holy Prophets teachings of inter-faith harmony and peace rather than argument on religion. Even though we don’t celebrate Christmas, we should respect the Christian beliefs and cultural beliefs about Christmas regarding Australia as a harmonized country. Many Muslims have different views on Christmas, most will say that they greet their Christian neighbours but do not take part in celebrations themselves. They celebrate properly the Islamic Festivals of Eid every year, with its own set of customs and celebrations.This belief is common amongst most Muslims. Just like we remember the poor and needy during our Islamic festivals, it is good to remember those who are poor and in dire straits, who cannot celebrate their Christmas. By doing so, as an Ahmadi Muslim, we are being kind and respectful towards their beliefs and culture and making their special event a joyful one – despite holding different beliefs.

Many questions are raised as to why Muslims do not celebrate Christmas. If we were to celebrate Christmas while not being followers of the religion, we would have to celebrate many other religious celebrations in Hinduism, Buddhism etc. It would be impossible to keep up with all of this.