Letter: Religious symbolism under attack on both sides of the Channel

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The Independent Online
Sir: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown's letter to Theresa Stewart ('Dear Theresa Stewart', 10 December) is helpful in as much as it makes explicit a theme that lies at the heart of Birmingham City Council's decision to remove Christian symbols from its festive lights and replace them with images from other religions: that it is not correct to insult any religion, unless that religion be Christian.

Despite the pagan revelry that has become dominant once more in the 20th century, it should never be forgotten that Christmas remains, at its heart, a Christian festival. While Ms Alibhai-Brown is right to denounce the hypocrisy that attaches itself to this time of year, is that any reason for making Christian symbols 'politically incorrect'? If outsiders tampered with Muslim, Hindu or Sikh holy days, there would be an outcry, and rightly so. But it's fine to do this to Christian festivals.

Of course, according to Ms Alibhai-Brown's letter, any who would dare to point this out are either colonialists or racists, which are terrible accusations. And it's factually inaccurate to say that Christianity is not the dominant religion in the world, which it is, both numerically, and in terms of growth (in most of the continents at least: Europe is, of course, excepted). I, for one, do not want a retreat from the cultural diversity of Britain, but neither do I believe that understanding between religions is helped by such attacks.

Yours faithfully,

MARTIN DAY

Coalville, Leicestershire

10 December

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