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Christmas, a Season for Accommodating Islam
by David J. Rusin • Dec 10, 2008 at 11:41 am
In England the weather grows colder, children fidget with anticipation, and events are being held to mark a major feast — that's right, Eid al-Adha, the Islamic festival of sacrifice. At one Nottingham primary school, it has meant the postponement of the annual nativity play, given the "effect" of many Muslim students remaining at home this week to celebrate:
That the Christmas play was shelved in a nation with an officially established Christian church makes it a potent sign of the times. And while secularists always cheer obstacles to the public acknowledgment of religious holidays, they should not be pleased with private faith-based celebrations disrupting the schedules of others.
Catholic schools, too, are providing fresh accommodations for Britain's Islamic community. During a week in which one Vatican official thanked Muslims for bringing God back to Europe and a second welcomed the building of more mosques — with the caveat that they be used for worship only and not become "something different" — bishops of England and Wales rolled out policies that go "way beyond legal requirements" to cater to Muslims attending Catholic schools:
These news items underscore three truths upon which nearly all observers of Europe can agree: First, Islam is on the rise across the continent, while Christianity is on the decline. Second, once-powerful Christian churches are little more than bystanders to this trend. Third, the sociopolitical changes accompanying such demographic shifts will be profound.