In the recent weeks, Muslims in America have been accused of treason, celebrating attacks on America, being anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and the list can go on and on. However, despite the fact these accusations have no basis, many people in the U.S are falling prey to these lies about Muslim Americans.
So, how should Muslims respond to these attacks?
How about going to a Mass on Christmas Eve?
I grew up in a Muslim conservative family in Jerusalem. Despite that, we always enjoyed Christmas. When I was 15 years old I asked my mother if we can have a Christmas tree and without hesitation she said, “Sure!” This is a woman who wears headscarf, prays five times a day and has done the pilgrimage to Mecca multiple times. Since my teenage years, my friends and I loved to go to Bethlehem to celebrate on Christmas Eve. Actually, every Christmas you will find Muslims enjoying the birth of Jesus in Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and other places.
Imagine, if millions of American Muslims visit churches all over America to celebrate Christmas with their Christian neighbors. They can learn about the Christian tradition and share Muslim beliefs about Jesus. Many will be surprised to know that religious Muslims hold Jesus in high regard as a prophet, always say “Prayer be upon him” after saying his name, believe in the virgin birth, believe in the second coming.
Another idea would be volunteering for a soup kitchen, distributing gifts to the poor, or visiting nursing homes.
Learning to celebrate with one another and appreciate cultural differences is the best way to overcome ignorance and hatred. The Quran says “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.”