Islam and Tolerance: Dakar mosque decked in Christmas lights

Washington Post: DAKAR, Senegal — After prayers at the mosque, Ibrahim Lo is off to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. Soon he is eyeing the rows of dolls wrapped in plastic bags on a wooden table as he searches for gifts for his four children.

A bouquet of inflatable Santa toys tied to a nearby tree bobs in the air at this outdoor market in the seaside capital as he makes his picks.



It looks a lot like Christmas in Senegal, where 95 percent of the 12.8 million residents are Muslim. Even the Grande Mosquee, a mosque that dominates the city’s skyline, is aglow in holiday lights.“When they go to school, the children learn about Santa,” says Lo, wearing a flowing olive green robe known as a boubou. “We are born into the Senegalese tradition of cohabitation between Muslims and Christians. What is essential is the respect between people.”More: 

5 replies

  1. The contents of this article are beautiful and express the traditional tolerance, which has been a hallmark of Islam over the centuries, all over the world. My friend – President of EMISCO-European Muslim Initiative for Social Cohesion and who is a former Director of UNISCO – Doudou Deine, who is from Dakar has been narrating years of inter-religious living in Senegal. Recently a friend went to Senegal on a fact-finding trip and was so impressed by the Senegalese respect for other religions, that she sent a long letter of praise to her USA friends and family.
    The sad thing is that the universal message of tolerance, accept and inter-religious living is being eroded by brain-dead Mullah, like the one in this article.
    When Mouhamed Seck, a Quranic teacher and imam for a mosque in a Dakar suburb, says that taking part in the holiday is supporting a non-Muslim’s religion and that “Islam forbids Muslims from taking part in these festivities,” he is either have not read Quran or is totally under the influence of Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia.
    Nowhere in Quran such a negative thinking is mentioned and the Prophet himself has never preached such sectarian ideology. Quran describes, Jews and Christians as “People of the book” and throughout history, Muslims have respected and accepted other religions. In India, Muslims took part in many Hindu, Sikh and Christian festivities, as did these non-Muslim who took part in Muslim festivals of Eid. Pre-civil war Balkan was another good example, where Muslims, Jews and Christians lived side by side. Some were even married to others.
    By taking part in festivities, people do not leave their own religion and culture but only express their solidarity with each others. May higher forces give some sense to people like this ignorant Imam

  2. This is not respect or tolerance, It is simplest demonstration of Bidd’at (self-invented novelty). True Muslims (and even Christians) must refrain from celebrating pagan festivals and practicing such things.

  3. Dear Ahmed
    We are living in 21st century in a very diverse and a multi-religious world. We must not impose our way of interpreting Islam on others or even other Muslims.

  4. @Bashy

    Has the 21st century overridden Qur’an and Sunnah?

    Could you please refer any Quranic verse(s), Sunnah, Hadith or Promised Messiah AS saying(s) or his Caliphs statement(s) in support of your WISHES ?

    Whereas I can quote many but once you start.

    I have said earlier on in one of my comments, Its OK to reciprocate Christmas greetings but to celebrate such things or participate in those gatherings where un-Islamic things are practiced must be avoided by a true Muslim.

    Whenever my Christian friends greet me (any greetings) I reciprocate. Or they invite me I accpet the invitation only and only when I know there would be a decent gatheirng meaning no Christian religious songs (which are normally carry MUSHRIK content), dancing and alcohol. And if any of them is there or practiced I move away or isolate myself which is observed very clearly and vividly and it always pays me back; I get more respect and honour by grace of Allah. And it has also provided me a great opportunity to preach and let my friends know about their mistake about this celebration which is nothing to do with Jesus. Some of them although not have given up celebrating this, they openly accept it now and do not show same tradition excitement and as they used to do before.

    You can contact renowned Ahmadi scholars for verification of my stance and if you find anything different from what I have argued please do let me know too.


  5. Dear Ahmed
    Thank you so much for your comment and the questions, you have asked. Your first question is; Does 21st century has overridden Qur’an and Sunnah ?
    It depends, how you look at things. Quran as a guide for Muslims in morality, spirituality and to live a pious life is ever lasting like all other books for their followers. Some practice it and some do not.
    Yes, you can believe on revelation blindly without understanding its spirit, philosophy, it message and what Quran asked Muslims to be, but I try to understand Quran and Islam and for that matter all religions with reason, logic and in their historical context.
    For example, in 7th century, a thief who stole repeatedly would have his one hand cut. The punishment for adulatory was death and one could marry 4 wives under certain conditions. Such practices were common at that time and could be explained with logic but today, such practices are not only impossible to carry on but are against common sense and considered against human rights.
    When it comes to Sunnah, there are certain acts of the prophet could not be replicated today, for example, people during Prophet’s time traveled on camels, drank goat milk, ate dates, used Miswak for cleaning teeth, there was no electricity, no Internet, no mass education, no health care and no banking system.
    Prophet fought with swords and arrows, had only two set of clothes, one sandal and lived very very simple life. It will be impossible to live the life of that time even if you strived as hard as possible. I hope that I answered you enough. I hope that you do not send a Fatwa against me as a Kafir.
    Than you ask me;
    Could you please refer any Quranic verse(s), Sunnah, Hadith or Promised Messiah AS saying(s) or his Caliphs statement(s) in support of your WISHES ?
    Dear Ahmed, I do not know, what exactly, you are asking me to refer to. But here is a Quranic verse, which I always remember in my dealing with non-Muslims.
    “It may be that Allah will bring about love between you and those of them with whom you are now at enmity; and Allah is All-Powerful; and Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful. Allah forbids you not, respecting those who have not fought against you on account of your religion, and who have not driven you forth from your homes, that you be kind to them and act equitably towards them; surely Allah loves those who are equitable and Just.” (Al Quran 60:8-9)
    Then you come with a strange statement, like: “ I have said earlier on in one of my comments, Its OK to reciprocate Christmas greetings but to celebrate such things or participate in those gatherings where un-Islamic things are practiced must be avoided by a true Muslim”.
    Please tell me. What you consider un-Islamic and what is Christmas greeting to you”.
    If you look at reality in the Muslim world, very few people and certainly none of the Muslim countries, I have visited can be called Islamic by any standard. On the other hand, there are many Jews and Christians who are better Insan than Muslims. They live a righteous life and do not hurt anyone. Christmas is not so much a religious festival as it is cultural. I have attended hundreds of Christmas parties and I know that not all people there talked about Jesus being God, drank wine or ate pork. So stop generalizing like a Mullah and be a better and tolerant human being.
    Dear Ahmed, I am not a Guru, priest or Imam follower. I do my own research, use my own logic and make my own decisions. I hope that you will respect that. From your post, you seem to be a decent guy but a bit of religious zealot. It is your right to act, as you deem fit and so do other Muslims, who should act, as they feel comfortable, with out being called Mushrik. By isolating your self, you only create a bad image of the Muslims.
    I and I think, you too live in the west, where all the society is not Muslim and people there are called by Mullahs as Kafir. Well then, one should not live there. Simple.

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