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Keeping calm at Christmas

Keeping calm at Christmas

Categories: Latest News

Monday December 15 2014

The Independent on Sunday draws attention to the stubborn persistence of the falsehood generated one year by the Daily Express when it proclaimed ‘Christmas is banned: it offends Muslims’.

In a feature article this week, Cole Moreton looks at the decision by Stoke City Council to ‘rebrand Christmas’ as ‘Winterfest’ and the discomfort this has caused local residents. In one letter published in the local paper, the Stoke Sentinel, and quoted by Moreton, a reader complains ” Now the politically correct brigade on Stoke-on-Trent City Council think that it’s fair game to discriminate against Christians by calling Christmas “Winterfest”. I assume it is so that Muslims are not offended. What shall we call Ramadan, so as not to offend the Christian community? “Lunar-Fast?”.”

The assumption by the reader that the council’s decision was prompted by a misplaced sensitivity for Muslims is not surprising given the widespread coverage such falsehoods have enjoyed. As Roy Greenslade wrote, in his review of Pointing the Finger, the brilliant study of media reporting on Islam and Muslims by Professor Julian Petley and Robin Richardson which also covers the Daily Express’s front page falsehood, “Few topics are as controversial as the media treatment of Muslims, and too few journalists take it seriously. They should, because they are responsible for the stories people retell…It is press-generated myths about Islam that fuel misunderstandings and feed prejudice, and thus bedevil rational discussion.”

Contrast the ‘Christmas is banned: it offends Muslims’ nonsense with Ed West’s blog on the Catholic Herald about “How Muslims saved the nativity play at my school”.

West observes “Very few Muslims object to living in a country which is broadly and lightly Christian, or in taking part in Christian events. They certainly prefer it to a godless one.”


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