Dreaming of a white Winterval…
“It's time to stop being daft about Christmas. It's fine to celebrate and it's fine for Christ to be star of the show," said Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. “Let's stop being silly about a Christian Christmas," he said, referring to a tendency to play down the traditional celebrations of the birth of Christ for fear of offending minorities in multicultural Britain.
Suicide bombings by British Islamists in July 2005 which killed 52 people in London have prompted much soul-searching about religion and integration in Britain, a debate that has been echoed across Europe. The threat of radical Islam, highlighted by the London attacks, prompted reflection about Britain's attitude to ethnic minorities and debate about whether closer integration was more important than promoting multiculturalism.
Phillips, reflecting on media reports of schools scrapping nativity plays and local councils celebrating ‘Winterval’ instead of Christmas, feared there might an underlying agenda - using ‘this great holiday to fuel community tension’. So he joined forces with leaders of minority faiths to put out a blunt message to the politically correct - leave Christmas alone. "Hindus celebrate Christmas too. It's a great holiday for everyone living in Britain," said Anil Bhanot, general secretary of the UK Hindu Council.
So that’s that then - Hindus celebrate Christmas too. Actually, if you walk into any of their mandirs, it looks as though they celebrate Christmas every day. But let us hope to hear from Mr Phillips more manifest common sense, such as mecca-facing toilets or demands for the reinstatement of bacon sandwiches in prisons, banning compulsory Ramadan observance in the NHS, and the free practice of euthanasia upon sick cows.