CAIRO – As the Christmas falls this year, Santa seemed less welcomed in Turkey after a youth group and an Istanbul neighborhood launched two separate campaigns against the famous Christmas figure.
“As in recent years, Santa Claus will not be coming to Şirinevler since he is nothing to do with our traditions and our culture,” Galip Karayiğit, the chief of Şirinevler neighborhood, said in a statement cited by Hurriyet Daily News on Wednesday, December 25.
Hanging a huge banner that Santa Claus was not welcome on their streets, the neighborhood chief said that they wanted to revive Turkish characters to educate children about their traditions and values.
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“[Turk legend character] Dede Korkut will come to our houses again, and will teach our children that they did not come into this world for pleasure, that they came to distribute justice,” Karayiğit said.
Dede Korkut is the most famous among the epic stories of the Oghuz Turks (known as Turkmens or Turcomans).
The stories carry morals and values significant to the social lifestyle of the nomadic Turks and their pre-Islamic beliefs.
The Şirinevler’s campaign was launched as a Muslim youth group, announced a new anti-Santa campaign on the eve of Christmas in Turkey.
The group, Istanbul University branch of a group called Anatolia Youth Association (AGD), released an illustration of a Muslim youth punching Santa Claus in the face, announcing that it would make a press statement against Christmas on Dec. 26 in Istanbul.
The group announced the event with a statement titled “Muslim, return to yourself!” adding that “Christmas is a Christianity practice.”
They have also criticized the celebration of New Year’s Day, saying that the two dates were “mixed” and “united”, adding that celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Day was “wrong” and constituted “a blow dealt to Muslimism.”
Christmas is the main festival on the Christian calendar. Its celebrations reach its peak at 12:00 PM on December 24 of every year.
Muslims believe in Jesus as one of the great Prophets of God and that he is the son of Mary but not the Son of God. He was conceived and born miraculously.
In the Noble Qur’an, Jesus is called "Isa". He is also known as Al-Masih (the Christ) and Ibn Maryam (Son of Mary).
Muslim scholars assert that Muslims have their own identity and in order to keep this identity they must not celebrate Christmas or holidays of non-Muslims.
By participation in Christmas, they say, it is possible that slowly one may lose his or her consciousness of this basic point of difference between Islam and Christianity.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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