Sunday, December 25, 2011


Ten weeks into my freshman year at college a few years ago (overseas), I experienced my first 'Christmas'. The commercialism confused me because we had nothing like that during Eid in Oman, but I tried to understand. I spent Christmas day alone reading.

During my second year of college, I was invited to spend Christmas with a Christian family and it completely changed my perspective. They welcomed me into their home with open arms and introduced me to their family traditions during this festive time. Televisions were put away, laptops switched off, and mugs of hot cocoa were made. They isolated themselves from the modern world and settled into a few days of pure family. We baked, we decorated the Christmas tree and wrapped gifts and gave to the poor and played Christmas music. I also went to Mass with them out of curiosity. It was snowing and there was a fireplace in the living room. Every moment from that magical time has remained intact in my memory.

From that moment, I have been working (in my own way) to promote religious tolerance among my friends, family and wider audience. I am proud to be a Muslim but I also deeply respect peaceful people of other faiths. Believing we are superior to others in religion or race or culture will not get us anywhere in this life. What this world needs is more tolerance.

I would like to wish all my Christian readers a blessed Christmas and a blessed Chanukah to members of the Jewish faith (the celebration started on December 20th and will continue until the 28th).

Peace - Nadia


  1. Blessings to you in this season Nadia! The world needs more interfaith heroes :-)

  2. Thanks a lot, Nadia! Merry Christmas to you as well and all the best throughout 2012!

  3. Thanks Nadia, actually our troubled world needs
    people like you and this post fully expresses the open-mindedness I love in your blog.
    Have a merry Christmas!

  4. This is a beautiful post Nadia and written with all the tolerant, welcoming and kind nature of Omanis.
    I may be Muslim but my family is Christian and I celebrate Christmas. Whilst we know this is not the day Jesus was born it is culturally the day it is celebrated. I partake in Christmas as for me it is remembering the birth of a great Prophet of God. I do not see anything haraam in it as such. It is also a time to be with family -something important in Islam.
    I have been shocked though by some of the outrageous comments being spouted on various Facebook pages. Saying "Merry Christmas" is apparently shirk! Even worse attending anything to do with Christmas seems to be sending one straight to Hell fire.
    Once again it seems to be coming from the West this intolerant, extreme attitude of many Muslims - many of them converts.
    I left Muscat a few days to a city where shops had Christmas trees and my students wished their teachers and Christian friends a happy Christmas and as always Omanis have this ability to remain true to their faith and beliefs whilst at the same time respecting others and being able to wish people of other faiths joys in their festivals.
    Back in the UK and a hardcore group of Muslims are practically brandishing swords at "kuffir" - what they refer to Christians and Jews are and I am lost!
    Merry Christmas to everyone in Oman from someone who has just left Oman and is missing it already!

  5. As a man with a Jewish and Christian background, who also loved living in Oman amongst many loevly Muslim people, thank you for your well wishes. The world needs more people like you.

    Shalom. Salam. Peace.

  6. Hi Nadia,
    That is a beautiful sentiment and post . Unfortunately not all Omanis feel the way you too. I am a naturalized Omani and love the country as much as any Omani . However I am now in the United States and working there instead of working in Oman and contributing to the progress of the country . This was due to my experiences growing up and studying at SQU. Don't get me wrong classmates treated me well but they could never a accept my non Muslim faith. I could never bring up my children in a place where they would not be accepted because they have the wrong faith and ethnicity.
    In time I realized that my allegiance was truly to His Majesty for allowing me and my family to prosper in Oman. But what would happen after his reign. Hence with a heavy heart I had to leave.
    I still hope that my fears will not be realized and I can come back and live in the country I love.

  7. How about those peaceful people of no faith?

  8. Anonymous, everyone has faith in something. You don't need to believe in a 'God' to be a peaceful person of faith.

  9. Your post summed up exactly how I feel about our opposite experience in Oman and unlike ANONYMOUS 29th Dec, I did not feel at all like we were not accepted in Oman for having a different faith! It was a wonderful place for my youngest son to spend the first few years of his life and for my older son also. We did not leave Oman for this reason and I never would. Actually we felt more accepted by our Omani friends than people in our own home country! One of my fondest memories is of the beautiful young Omani nurse at SQU Hospital who came and sat on my hospital bed and chatted to me when she had the time during my 8 week stay in hospital. This would never have happened in my home country where hospitals are understaffed and nurses are stressed out! Oman has a lot to offer and Nadia you continue to remind me of all the wonderful things that I SOOO miss about Oman!