Plan ‘to create respect and understanding between different religions’
Students in Norway, a nation with a 1,000-year-old Christian heritage, are being treated this year to a very Quran Christmas as educators seek “to create respect and understanding between different religions.”
The report comes from Bruce Bawer, who writes on the Gatestone Institute website that “shoehorning Quran verses into a Christmas event does nothing but cause misunderstanding.”
“The whole thing was pretty bizarre, given that (a) Christmas is not an Islamic holy day, and (b) thanks to such misguided innovations, a whole generation of Norwegian children will grow up thinking ‘that Allah and the Quran have something to do with Christmas.’”
He explains citizens of the Nordic nations are “not big believers these days,” but they do remain devoted to their Christian heritage.
“At least in Norway, which is probably the most culturally conservative of the Nordic lands, confirmation is still a universal rite of passage. Most of the official national holidays are Christian holy days, even if most people could not tell you exactly what Ascensions Day and Pentecost commemorate,” he said.
He noticed a report from the Norwegian online magazine Document.no that Stigerasen School, an elementary school in Skien, was adding a bonus to this year’s Christmas celebration, “two verses from the Quran.” One refers to Jesus being “honored” and the other the greatness of Allah, which roughly translating as: “Allah creates what he wants. If he orders it, he just says: Be.”
Bawer, author of the new “The Alhambra” and the 2006 New York Times bestseller “While Europe Slept,” notes Christmas celebrations at schools in Norway are sometimes even more Christian than in the United States, since the Church of Norway is fully funded by the government.
The fact that the school was including the Quranic statements, then, drew national attention, with the report being the most-shared item in Norway one day this week.
“Breaking the news of these plans, reporter Hanne Tolg noted that some such change in traditional holiday programming was probably inevitable, given that 40 percent of the kids at the Stigeråsen school speak Norwegian as a second language (if they speak it at all),” Bawer wrote.
“Still, added Tolg, the whole thing was pretty bizarre,” he said.
Bawer noted that the report went through a newspaper “fact check,” which found it to be true.
The top education official in Skien, Grete Gjelten, was asked to comment. She said the Quran is being added to Christmas “to create respect and understanding between different religions.”
Bawer wrote: “The school also wished to ‘show the pupils the differences between the religions.’ Gjelten went on a bit about this, but probably did not succeed in convincing anyone that including the two Quran verses in a Christmas show would serve to increase any child’s awareness of the extensive, manifold theological disparities between Christianity and Islam.”
But he warned it’s the exercise of dhimmitude, the Islamic requirement for submission by non-Muslims.
“This year, there might be a couple of Quran verses in a Christmas show; next year, a yuletide event at which both religions are celebrated on an even footing; and not too many years after that, perhaps, a children’s celebration at which there is no cross and no Christmas tree, only prayer rugs, benedictions in Arabic, and hijabs for the girls.”