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Dakar Mosque Decked in Christmas Lights as Mostly Muslim Senegal Joins in Holiday Cheer

Dakar_Mosque_Senegal

The global Christmas culture hits Senegal. (h/t: Razainc.)

Dakar mosque decked in Christmas lights as mostly Muslim Senegal joins in holiday cheer

(Washington Post)

DAKAR, Senegal — After prayers at the mosque, Ibrahim Lo is off to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. Soon he is eyeing the rows of dolls wrapped in plastic bags on a wooden table as he searches for gifts for his four children.

A bouquet of inflatable Santa toys tied to a nearby tree bobs in the air at this outdoor market in the seaside capital as he makes his picks.

It looks a lot like Christmas in Senegal, where 95 percent of the 12.8 million residents are Muslim. Even the Grande Mosquee, a mosque that dominates the city’s skyline, is aglow in holiday lights.

“When they go to school, the children learn about Santa,” says Lo, wearing a flowing olive green robe known as a boubou. “We are born into the Senegalese tradition of cohabitation between Muslims and Christians. What is essential is the respect between people.”

Senegal, a moderate country along Africa’s western coast, has long been a place where Christians and Muslims have coexisted peacefully. Most Christians here are Catholic and live in the south of country and in the capital.

Hadim Thiam, 30, normally sells shoes but during December he’s expanded to an elaborate spread of tinsel, cans of spray snow and fireworks.

“It’s not linked to God. It’s for the children,” says Jean Mouss, 55, a Christian out shopping for holiday decorations at Thiam’s stand. “We wish Muslims a Merry Christmas and invite them into our homes for the holiday.”

Signs of Christmas are prevalent in this tropical seaside capital.

Green and flocked plastic trees of every size are sold on street corners alongside Nescafe carts and vendors splitting open coconuts. “My First Christmas” baby sleepers are folded neatly on the top of the piles of second-hand clothing for sale on the streets. There are French “buches de Noel” and chocolate snowmen for sale in the upscale patisseries.

At lunchtime, a chorus of schoolchildren singing “Silent Night” echoes across a courtyard. The main cathedral is now a spectacle of lights each night — no easy feat for a city often subjected to power cuts.

Still, not everyone in Senegal thinks embracing Christmas is all in good cheer. Mouhamed Seck, a Quranic teacher and imam for a mosque in a Dakar suburb, says taking part in the holiday is supporting a non-Muslim’s religion.

“Islam forbids Muslims from taking part in these festivities,” he says.

Parents who celebrate Christmas, though, say it’s a secular time to celebrate with their families on a national holiday.

“To make my two children happy, I buy gifts for them and ask their mother to prepare a very hearty meal but we don’t go to Mass,” says Oumar Fall, 46, who has a 10-year-old and a 13-year-old.

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  • Tanveer Khan

    Aha. I see. Thanks. :)

  • Tanveer Khan

    A good muzlim iz a ded won!

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    This is Agent Smith of The Patriots err Mr Smith a patriot [(talking to self )there that sounds better]. Razabot/BigBoss cyborg err Razainc has posted some comments a while ago about a mass illusion created by us err I mean an organization called The Patriots and a Agent Smith I can assure nothing of the sort exist please go back to you’re daily programing err I mean activities and ignore any comments about Illusion and the Patriots and Agent Smith there is no La Li Lu Le Lo.

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    The illusion created by Agent Smith of The Patriots who is in fact the true master mind there is no such thing as Islamic countries it is all advanced holograms and protections even this is being typed out……… wait I have said too much

  • Solid Snake

    Now your getting the hang of it! Some would tell you that you should learn about Islam. What are we, liberal college student punks? Some would say we should talk to actual Muslims. I say I would rather be a dead warrior than a living pacifist coward! There is only one solution, the most rational of them all, nuke’m back to the stone age! Yeah human rights, freedumb, Demockracy for all! (except muzzies)

  • Solid Snake

    heh..wait..maybe we are robots! Maybe we have put all Non Muslims into a Matrix like simulation! And Geller, Spencer, and friends know the truth and are trying to revolt and save humanity! They know the truth but the ignorant people just want to live their lives! It all makes sense! The concept of taqqiya does not merely refer to what Muslims say…it refers to the actual existence of Muslims! The existence of Muslims is juts one big illusion, a lie, a Simulation!! Nothing is true, everything is permitted! The Atlantis of The Sands! Metal Gear! Nanomachines! The La Li Lu Le Lo! CONSPIRACY OVERLOAD!!!!

  • Tanveer Khan

    WHAT? Seriously? Those filthy, 7th century bums. I propose (well actually its been proposed numerous times already but hey) we nuke Makkah!

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    Any time a Muslims even acts normal it’s taqqiyya. Whether we laugh, cry, all taqqiyya anything that makes us look human is all taqqiyya. Maybe were all cyborgs with one objective to have children act normal then dominate the world.

  • Solid Snake

    Pfff No! It means you are allowed to lie when you are undercover infiltrating the West. You are allowed to proclaim you are Not MUSLIM and that you will not enforce Sharia as soon as you get into power. Actually according to Loons anything nice said by a Muslim is taqqiya! So logically, they want us to be mean to everyone so they could then point at us and scream “look how mean these muzzies are!”

  • Tanveer Khan

    Is taqiyya where you are allowed to lie if you are in danger of being killed or being persecuted?

  • mindy1

    :)

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    I think the point of this is prove that Muslims in general are much more tolerant of other religions, Christianity in particular, than they’re usually portrayed as being. Its not trying to promote the idea that Muslims should participate in Christmas celebrations. I really don’t care that much, if they do either way, and I don’t think that Loon Watch does either.

  • http://twitter.com/CriticalDragon1 CriticalDragon1177

    I wonder how the people behind all the stupid bigoted “counter Jihad” blogs are going to try to explain this other than “taqiyya,” which is a term they actually don’t even understand really.

  • Awwaaba Sulaiman

    Seriously, I know that the authors of these Christmas articles have good intentions but they do bug me a wee bit. I’m a fan of this website but neither believe that it’s Islamic to celebrate Christmas nor that celebrating it makes one a good and peaceful Muslim. It’s good that Christians get to celebrate their holiday in Muslim countries, have their special decorations and are sometimes given time off work/school, I fully support that. But after reading a number of articles about Christmas by Muslim authors in the Guardian and other papers, it seems like they’re desperate to please those who regard them with contempt and always will. It’s like “look at me bigots, I’m a modern and progressed Muslim. I even celebrate Christmas despite the fact that I was born into a Muslim family and would therefore have no reason to do so!” Nobody expects Christians and Jews to join in with the Eid cheer to prove that they’re tolerant and peaceful.

  • 1DrM

    Ignorance

  • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

    This really goes against the essentialist narrative forwarded by many of what Muslim societies are like.

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