The 'Muslim' Christmas hashtag has been trending on social media, following a Parliamentary report about Muslims' charitable efforts at this time of year.
The hashtag #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas has been trending on Twitter, celebrating British Muslims’ charitable contributions over the Christmas period.
This follows a new cross-party report showing Muslims in Britain are not recognised for the amount of charity work they do.
Tory MP Anna Soubry and Labour MP West Streeting, co-chairs of a parliamentary group that addresses Muslim issues and Islamophobia, said the role British Muslim charities play during the festive season is “wilfully ignored” and blamed the media for an inaccurate portrayal of Islam.
Soubry said the findings show that the three million Muslims in Britain were supporting the poorest in their communities.
She added: “I have been deeply moved by the evidence we have heard. The number of British Muslim charities supporting non-Muslims during the season of good will is testament to the true nature of the Islamic Faith.”
The ‘A Very Merry Muslim Christmas’ report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims states their contributions often go unnoticed because they are not considered newsworthy.
— British Muslims (@APPGBritMuslims) December 19, 2017
Soubry and Streeting criticised the media for mostly focusing on fears about charities bring abused for the financing of terrorism – even through evidence points to the near-inexistent levels of such abuse within the sector.
During the five terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower tragedy the UK suffered this year, the frontline charity work done by British Muslims has become more visible.
In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, for example, Muslims rushed alongside other Britons to give blood to hospitals and offer rides home.
The response after #Grenfell Tower shows the power of Muslim charities – outstanding work by @GrenfellMRU @NZF_org_uk @pennyappeal @Muslim_Aid @IslamicReliefUK & others deservedly profiled in @APPGBritMuslims report #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas pic.twitter.com/AezxFWGTrr
— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) December 19, 2017
The APPG’s report says: “These preliminary findings will, we hope, move us to look again at a community of less than three million people who, through their charitable activities, punch far above their weight.”
Former Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi, treasurer of the APPG, said Christmas was an appropriate time to publish the report.
“I think what we are trying to do is end the year with good will and we think it is right to release the findings of this report during this festive period,” the Conservative peer said.
— British Muslims (@APPGBritMuslims) December 18, 2017
The response on Twitter has been very positive, with the hashtag #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas trending at number one for hours – but it has also been criticised on multiple fronts.
Anna Soubry, the APPG co-chair, says “Bring it on” if the report and slogan #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas sparks a backlash
— Aisha S Gani (@aishagani) December 19, 2017
Some Muslims on Twitter questioned why they needed to ‘prove’ their charitable efforts and said the campaign felt forced. One person said the hashtag reminded them of how Muslims condemned every terrorist attack by Islamist extremists, even though they had nothing to do with the attacks.
— angree bindii (@angreebindii) December 19, 2017
Why do Muslims have to PROVE we're equal to other Brits, by using our naturally charitable nature to paper over cracks OUR GOVERNMENT shunt wide open, at home &abroad?
— #RiseInResistance (@RiseNResist) December 19, 2017
Also is there a generational thing here? Do young British Muslims feel they need to prove they are British by showing they celebrate Christmas/ give charity during the festive period? #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas
— Aisha S Gani (@aishagani) December 19, 2017
Other Muslims condemned the use of a ‘Muslim’ Merry Christmas for religious reasons.
Why do these illiberal liberal Muslims think it’s ok to conform to a standard the state wants rather than being uniquely true to themselves, the Islamic faith & to the Quran & Sunnah? #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas
— Jeeraz (@MaskedMuslamics) December 20, 2017
Finally some used the hashtag and attempted to link it to terrorism or dismiss the contributions.
— Paul Putin 🇬🇧🇺🇸🇮🇱 (@PaulGP2) December 20, 2017
However, the majority of the tweets welcomed the recognition of British Muslims’ contributions.
2. The same people who moan about the 'PC brigade' are now claiming that #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas offends both Muslims and Christians
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) December 20, 2017
You know why the racists are in full swing on #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas? Because sensible people from all walks of life are coming together to peacefully coexist and they can’t stand it because they thrive on division and hatred. Let’s make them even madder in 2018. pic.twitter.com/IaiQCYsSCv
— Alex #FBPE (@alexpiletska) December 19, 2017