Tuesday, 13 December 2016

What People Said About Our Celebrate England Events!

First the good news! You can read a report about the 'Celebrate EnglandLantern Parade here.

However, in the same week that Dame Louise Casey warned about 'worrying levels of segregation' between some Muslims and other members of society and recommended that schoolchildren should be taught British values, some local Muslim parents complained that their children had been sent home from school with leaflets about our 'Celebrate England' Christmas Community Fair. 

The event, held at the Church of Christ in Darnall, was designed to help people from different communities meet one another and better understand some of our traditional English customs and values. The Christmas Fair had a Christmas theme, and included an information point about the Christian celebration of Christmas featuring the Church's nativity scene. However, it also featured many secular aspects of Christmas that are typically English including a visit from Father Christmas.

There was no attempt to assimilate people into a uniform 'English' way of celebrating Christmas, much less to persuade them to convert from Islam to Christianity. The Fair was simply designed to help people integrate better with their neighbours and understand some of the things which have made England what it is like today. 

Those who came, Christian, Muslim and non-believers alike, all enjoyed themselves and got to know one another better. We hope that local schools will heed Dame Janet Casey's advice and not buckle to pressure to keep people isolated from and ignorant about key aspects of Britishness or Englishness. (In this case it is 'Englishness' that was being celebrated, because Scottish people traditionally had a very different attitude to Christmas and did not celebrate it in the same way.)

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