Do Muslims celebrate Christmas? Why I do, despite controversy.

Everyone Thinks Muslims Shouldn’t Celebrate Christmas. I’m Doing It Anyway.

Everyone Thinks Muslims Shouldn’t Celebrate Christmas. I’m Doing It Anyway.

Confronting fears about Muslims.
Dec. 20 2017 1:29 PM

Everyone Thinks Muslims Shouldn’t Celebrate Christmas

I’m doing it anyway.

This video is part of “Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail?,” a series featuring Slate’s Aymann Ismail confronting fears about Muslims. Follow along on Facebook.

christmasthumbnail_slate

This year, a Christmas commercial from a British retailer led to threats of a boycott on right-wing Twitter because it briefly included a Muslim family. The uproar seemed ridiculous—but the truth is, the ad might have provoked the same reaction in my parents’ conservative Muslim-American household. In my immigrant family, any celebration of Christmas was considered an affront. It was something observant Muslims simply didn’t do.

Advertisement

So as I stood on a Christmas tree lot in New Jersey earlier this month, choosing my first-ever tree with my wife, I wondered what I was doing there. Then I bought the tree. When I brought it home, I started to realize why I wanted one in the first place. In this episode, I consider the dissonance between calls for Muslims to assimilate and the anger when they celebrate America’s most popular holiday, and my own conflict with what it means to accept a Christmas tradition as my own.

Aymann Ismail

This series is written and produced by Aymann Ismail and Jeffrey Bloomer, and edited by Aymann Ismail.

One more thing

You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.

Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help.

If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.

Join Slate Plus

Aymann Ismail is a Slate video producer/editor.

Jeffrey Bloomer is Slate's senior video producer.