Local Authorities who play down Christian elements of Christmas or rename festivities risk “unthinkingly become recruiting agents for the extreme right” according to a joint Christian-Muslim think tank.
The warning comes from the Christian Muslim Forum which works to help all Christians and Muslims live and work together.
A statement issued by Bishop David Gillett and Dr Ataullah Siddiqui, the forum’s Chair and Vice Chair, says any move to rename Christian festivals to avoid offending non-Christians is “offensive to both of our communities” and risks fueling “antagonism towards Muslims and others by foisting on them an anti-Christian agenda which they do not hold.”
The pair call for an approach “which both recognizes the specific Christian heritage of this country and welcomes the important part that other religious traditions increasingly play within our culture. This demands a greater religious understanding on the part of government and local authorities than has been evident or necessary in the past.”