We celebrate Christmas too – the Arab world is not only for Muslims.

Sofyan Aswad
Sofyan Aswad

I walk around the streets in the town , where bright Christmas lights are shining everywhere, and I remember how we used to get ready to celebrate Christmas in Syria. Although the majority of Syrians are Muslim, the oldest church in the world is in the town of Homs. St. Mary Church of the Holy Belt still has a fragment of a strip of cloth that belonged to the Virgin Mary.

A lot of people in the western world think of the Arab world as being an Islamic world. What they often forget is that the Arab world is the cradle of Christianity.

As a ’new Swede’ I’m asked lots of different questions. One is whether Muslims in the Arab world respect Christian holidays. I always answer that the Arab world is the the cradle of Christianity. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Palestine, and lived his life in the border area between what are now Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.

Why shouldn’t we respect and rejoice in this festival which illuminates the world with the His light, the light that was lit in my country? We have lived alongside our Christian neighbours for thousands of years.

When we were decorating the Christmas tree at Kb Mosaik’s office I told my colleagues that it wasn’t the first time for me. Every year I used to help our neighbours, whose only son, George, went to USA 22 years ago and has stayed there ever since.

Christianity in the Middle East represents a large part of the mosaik of different cultures in the Arab world.

Yes, Muslims and Arabic Christians celebrate Christmas, but in our hearts we are anxious about our native countries.

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year