‘Other muslims tell me I’ll go to hell for celebrating Christmas’

All of us who celebrate Christmas have our own ways of marking the day. Whether it's family traditions, watching a particular film or visiting certain people or places. OK! spoke to five people about their unique festivities. If you enjoy getting an insight into other people's December then make sure you come back tomorrow for more, and Merry Christmas!

"For as long as I can remember, I’ve celebrated Christmas. And that’s due to my mother, who’s from Pakistan. One of her first memories of Britain was the excitement of Christmas – the bright lights, the snow and the “joyous English people”.

I remember how proud she was of me in my school nativity and how happy I felt. So, I was determined to make my own special memories for my children. People say, “How can you celebrate Christmas when you’re not even British!” And some Muslims even claim I’m going to hell, because, “Muslims shouldn’t celebrate Christmas.”

I’m British; I’m addicted to tea, fanatical about the royals, love a Sunday roast and celebrate Christmas. Most importantly, I was born in Britain, studied here, work and pay my taxes here, and was married and had children here.

The prejudice from our community is rubbish. Nothing in Islam warns against Muslims enjoying their culture – and my culture is British.

Christmas, for many, has nothing to do with religion. Christmas trees were introduced by Queen Victoria and Santa isn’t mentioned in the bible. So when people try to tie Christmas to just Christianity, I don’t take any notice. I put a twinkling tree up, buy advent calendars, stuff stockings with presents and celebrate with my family. It’s a time we cherish every year.

As a Muslim, I also participate in the Muslim tradition of Eid but, dare I say it, Christmas is a lot more enjoyable.

Christmas day begins very early in my household. I usually put my massive halal turkey in the oven and prepare dinner before the children wake up. I have four children, aged 19, 18, 17 and 11, and the novelty of seeing their faces when they excitedly tear their presents open never wears off.

We tuck into fruity mince pies and chocolates, and at dinner we have crackers and non-alcoholic champagne. Then we slob on the sofa.

This year, we’re particularly excited about the King’s speech. I’m optimistic about what King Charles can do for the country and the world. I think I’m more excited about Christmas than my children – but can you blame me?’"


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