How do Muslims celebrate Christmas? They don’t, but in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country celebrates and welcomes its expats to practice their faith and beliefs. This enlightening video by Abu Dhabi-based Emirati artist, Khalid Al Ameri, shares how the UAE has a certain level of acceptance and respect for non-Muslims.
The UAE has more than 200 nationalities co-existing with each other so this is really a great example of unity in diversity.
While there are negative impressions about Muslims and Muslim countries, videos uploaded online such as this one broadens our minds in understanding how expats celebrate the Christmas holidays in the UAE.
Khalid clearly mentions that Muslims do not celebrate Christmas, but he also shares how it’s like during December in Abu Dhabi (capital city/emirate) which can be found in the rest of the emirates of the UAE.
There are Christmas trees and decorations that light up hotels/malls and public areas. Offices celebrate parties too for non-Muslim colleagues. If you’ve lived in the UAE, you will find that even locals would greet you a happy Christmas, in the same way that Christians would greet our Muslim brothers and sisters, “Ramadan Kareem” during Ramadan season. This is what makes for a truly unique experience which cannot be directly assumed by close-minded individuals or those who only have a limited perception of this part of the world.
Media has a lot to play in this role especially in news spread out to households overseas. However, through posts like this and by sharing it on social media, it can help reach out to others that life in the Middle East is not bad at all. While there may be some rules that might not sit well (e.g. PDA/overt kissing in public is not allowed) to some, in general, we are happy to have this freedom and openness shared by the UAE.
The video helps in sharing with the rest of the world about tolerance and acceptance in a Middle East country like the UAE. Check out the full video below:
When Muslims Celebrate Christmas by Khalid Al Ameri
Below is a transcription from the video:
Do muslims celebrate Christmas? he quick answer is NO, we don’t.
But here in the UAE, when Christmas time comes, this is what we do celebrate.
I celebrate that behind me. The Mary, mother of Jesus Mosque, is surrounded by not one, not two, not three, bur four churches that Christians from around the world can come and celebrate Christmas. I celebrate that we can have a Christmas tree in the Middle of Abu Dhabi that everyone can enjoy. We can celebrate ice in Abu Dhabi even though it doesn’t snow.
But the most important thing that we celebrate is here the ability to bring love, joy and happiness to anyone and everyone who comes here and calls this city home regardless of their culture, regardless of their religion
because in realitythere is a lot more that makes us similar than makes us different… and that is something to celebrate everyday. Much love and God Bless.
— Khalid Al Ameri
On a final note, here’s a photo of a Christmas tree set up inside a mall in Dubai. This is probably the biggest Christmas tree in Dubai. 🙂