An attempt by Oxford council officials to drop Christmas from the title of the city’s celebrations was condemned by residents and religious leaders. Instead of Christmas lights, they want the historic city to be decorated with a huge mobile of lanterns in the shape of the solar system.
The idea was promoted by council-funded charity Oxford Inspires which is responsible for culture in the city. The charity has made the concession that the two month winter festival would include Christmas carol services. ‘We have Diwali at this time of year and Hannukah, so these are represented as well’, a spokesman added.
Councillors have distanced themselves from the decision, arguing that they are not ‘Christmas killers’ and that the move is not intended to downgrade Christmas. But residents have called for a return to tradition and, according to the Christian Institute, the move was criticised not only by Christians but also by Muslim and Jewish leaders.
Sabir Hussain Mirza, chairman of the Muslim Council of Oxford, said: ‘I’m really upset about this. This is the one occasion which everyone looks forward to in the year. Christians, Muslims and other religions all look forward to Christmas … Christian people should be offended and 99% of people will be against this. Christmas is part of being British and we shouldn’t hide it away’.