2019
01/13

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Muslim teen defends Christmas tradition

Following bans on Santa and his sleigh, a South Australian Muslim family has taken action to protect the tradition, SBS’ Karen Ashford reports.

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The result is a festive message posted on YouTube about cultural acceptance that they hope will become an international hit.

When 13-year-old Siraj Evans heard about bans on Christmas celebrations to avoid offending Muslims and others he was horrified.

“Like for us we have Eid. If that was banned then I would be like really upset because that’s what we do as Muslims,” Siraj Evans told SBS.

With help from mum, Siraj his friends are calling for tolerance and goodwill.

“Did you know there are over 200 different cultures and religious groups in South Australia? This is what makes us so special and it’s a great place to live,” Siraj says in the YouTube video.

These youngsters from Adelaide and abroad are celebrating their Australian-ness.

“Often Christmas carols aren’t played, Santa isn’t welcomed at schools and things like that, because people in a misguided sense of inclusion want to include minorities”.

The South Australian Muslim community believes inclusion means I include you in you celebration and you include me in yours, rather than trying and include people by denying our own,” Janine Evans, the mother of Siraj, said.

Ethnic leaders fear banning Christmas could actually undermine inclusiveness if minorities are blamed for political correctness gone mad.

“The meaning of multiculturalism is all about inclusivity, it’s all about respecting each other, it’s all about embracing each others’ cultures, understanding it, respecting it and sharing it with others,” Lieutenant Governor Hieu Van Le said.

“It’s not about banning or commenting negatively to any other cultures or religions or religious events”

As for Siraj, he hopes his message of understanding will reach far and wide.

“First we start changing Australia if we can, and if we can do that then we’ll try and change the world. That would be good,” he told SBS.

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