CAIRO – Connecting British faiths ahead of the Christmas, an Oxford Islamic centre has welcomed Britons form different faiths last Fridays to mark the arrival of the festive season.
“This is being organized by forward-looking and progressive Muslims to invite our Christian friends to pay tribute to them as they prepare for Christmas,” Dr Taj Hargey, Imam and director of the Muslim Educational centre of Oxford, told The Oxford Mail.
“By breaking bread together we will develop a better understanding of each other,” he added.
The interfaith banquet was organized by Muslim Educational centre of Oxford last Friday, where Oxford Christians were invited to break bread with the Muslim community.
“Everyone is welcome, even if you are an atheist,” Imam Hargey added.
Being the first of its kind in the UK, the event was launched with the Adhan, followed by individual prayers and benediction.
During Friday's sermon, Imam Hargey focused on shared links between Islam and Christianity.
“While Muslims do not celebrate the birth of Jesus in the same manner as Christians, we nevertheless respect Christ and hold him in the highest esteem as one of the most illustrious prophets of Islam,” he said.
Ensuring a spiritual feeling, a congregational prayer was also held with a translation.
At the end of the event, guests were offered the Christmas lunch with English and Middle Eastern recipes.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.7 million.
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar. Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In the Noble Qur’an, Jesus is called “Isa”. He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
The event was praised by attendants who rejoiced the interfaith gathering.
“It was very good and we were all happy to see Muslims, Christians and all faiths getting together to celebrate Christmas,” said Jamila Azad, of Oxfordshire County Council, who represents St Clement’s and Cowley Marsh.
Oxford banquet is not the first time for British Muslims to share Christmas festivities with their Christian neighbors.
Last Wednesday, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has released Christmas cards, congratulating the public on the festive season and assuring them that Muslims do not want to ban Christmas.
“Put up the Christmas tree, prepare the roast, wrap the presents and spread the Yuletide joy,” MCB said on its website.
Moreover, Faizan-e-Islam mosque in Manchester has been preparing hundreds of delicious meals to feed homeless over the Christmas.
Last December, Muslim campaign in Blackburn town collected tones of food for the needy during this Christmas where more than 20,000 food items were collected by the drive.
Related Links:Manchester Muslims Feed Xmas Needy
Muslims Don’t Want Xmas Banned: MCB
Lancashire Mosques Help Poor Britons
UK Muslims Prepare for Winter Appeal
UK Muslims Feed Christmas Needy