A Christmas ad (see below) for a large supermarket chain in the UK that includes a Muslim family garnered strong reactions in the country.
The ad follows a diverse cross section of Brits – from same sex couples to Muslims — preparing for the holiday by cooking a turkey and opening bon-bons. The scene in question features Muslim women in hijabs greeting each other with gifts as they arrive at someone’s house for a celebration.
Supermarket giant Tesco who put out the ad responded by saying said it was meant to show how people “come together at Christmas…Everyone is welcome at Tesco this Christmas and we’re proud to celebrate the many ways our customers come together over the festive season.”
The Twitter-sphere #EveryonesWelcome abounded with reactions to the ad ranging from support, incredulity, anger and bigotry – including quite a few complaints that if “everyone’s welcome” at Tesco, they should provide a halal turkey option!
Speaking on his LBC radio show, anti-extremist Muslim activist Maajid Nawaz had harsh criticism for the complaints he deemed bigoted.
“Your real agenda here is you just want a white, nativist, non-Muslim Britain. You want to hark back to that nostalgic sense you have of a country before immigration,” he said. “That’s the only conclusion I can come to because you’re not happy either way. If Muslims refuse to integrate, you complain. If Muslims integrate, you complain. That tells me there’s an ax to grind and you’re grinding it.”
Nawaz explained (as did other Twitter responders) that his Muslim family (including his father who “prayed five times a day”) celebrated Christmas every year, complete with a tree and presents. He described how, as a child, the day was one his “best moments of the year” and how his “integrated family” taught him to celebrate Christmas.
“Just think of one thing. What would Jesus do in this situation? Would he ban people from celebrating Christmas with him?” Nawaz asked.
“The only conclusion I can come to is that this is driven, and fueled, by a rising anti-Muslim sentiment that wants no Muslim presence in this country and will take any opportunity to decry and bemoan a semblance of a Muslim presence in this country,” he continued.
The tweets he was railing against included sentiments such as:
A quick survey of the ad by this author got diverse reactions, including: