Jewish and Muslim scholars protest at city decision to drop Christmas

Two  Cambridge academics  have voiced their dismay at the news that all references to Christmas  have been dropped from the switching-on ceremony for Dundee’s festive  lights. Instead of the traditional Christmas Lights switch-on, The  Times newspaper reported that residents will be attending the 'Dundee  Winter Light Night'. Council officials have also decided that rather  than a retelling of the Nativity story there will be a disco, a contemporary circus, a continental market and a seven foot fairy on stilts.

Executive Director of the from the Woolf Institute of Abrahamic Faiths, Dr Edward Kessler,  who is  Jewish, said: "'people of all faiths in this country should recognise  that such developments are a curb on all our religious freedoms. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. If Christmas  lights cannot be named as such how can the religious festivals  celebrated by Muslims, Jews, Hindus and so on be openly celebrated? If  restrictions are only imposed on Christian festivals (for the time  being), the interfaith endeavour is threatened."

Muslim colleague Dawud Bone, Stone Ashdown Director of the Centre for  the Study of Muslim – Jewish Relations at the Woolf Institute said:  "To call this political correctness would be to flatter those who have  arrived at this policy. I am unaware of any academic research that  suggests anyone of any faith is offended by Christmas lights. They are  therefore responding to a problem that almost certainly does not exist  and in doing so they are creating a greater problem. I believe actions  such as this can only damage community cohesion and reduce the respect  individuals have for each other's faiths."

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