I was born in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, where there was no difference between Christians and Muslims – we celebrate all the religions. This is in-line with the core values of Islam – to believe in all prophets and messengers and that they all come from the same Good.
Christmas is a public celebration and public holiday where Muslims alongside Christians celebrate the birthday of Eisa (Jesus). Christmas lights and parties are common and everyone joins in.
In Eid Aladha you can see Christians celebrate alongside Muslims and visit each other to exchange greetings and gifts.
In Bristol I really enjoy the vibrant and cheering celebrations at Christmas and as a family we decorate our home and exchange cards and gifts with neighbours and friends. My kids asked if we could invite our family for Christmas and we used to spend Christmas with relatives in London, as we do not have an extended family in Bristol, until one day my husband came up with a very good proposal to form a social action group with Muslims of different backgrounds and named it Muslims 4Bristol, with the core aim to celebrate community togetherness across faiths.
The idea is to go out on Christmas day to share a meal and spend the day with our unfortunate Bristol citizens who happen to be with no family or who are homeless on Christmas day. We prepare food, hot drinks and dessert and tour the streets of Bristol sharing food and company.
The core vision is to ensure unfortunate homeless fellow citizens celebrate Christmas with us as one big family. So for the past eight years we go out and celebrate the day in the streets of Bristol with other hundreds of fellow Muslims and Christians together. Many Muslim families are Sudanese, Somalian, Arabian and Asian, and with their children join in and bring food and desserts.
Many fellow Bristolians were surprised when they saw Muslim people wearing Christmas clothes and elf hats, sharing meals and celebrating. Few people know that Islam celebrates and cherishes Jesus or Eisa and that there is several mentions of Jesus as prophet in Islam and a whole chapter in The Quran entitled ‘Mary’ which talks about the birth of Jesus Christ and the life of his mother.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our Southmead Communities a Merry Christmas and Happy New year and if you want to be part of our Christmas day celebration please do get in touch by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org