One of the first questions on the agenda for next week’s Mayor’s Question Time [PDF] is from the BNP’s finest, Richard Barnbrook:

Understanding Different Cultures
Question No: 3133 / 2009
Richard Barnbrook
In light of the Mayor’s advice to non-Muslims to fast during Ramadan in order to ‘understand Muslims better’, would the Mayor urge Muslims to sing carols and eat Christmas pudding at Christmas to understand Christianity?

This is, of course, a reference to the Mayor’s recent visit to the East London Mosque, during which he suggested Londoners: “…fast for a day with your Muslim neighbour and break your fast at the local mosque.”

Now, I hate to break it to Dick, but Islam isn’t a culture, but a religion, and fasting is by no means exclusive to Islam.  Christmas Pudding? Where does that feature in the Bible? Christmas pudding evolved via plum porridge from  a mediaeval dish known as frumenty, which combined wheat with meat and spices imported from the Middle East, India and China. A remarkably similar dish known as haleem, a wheat porridge with meat and spices, originated in Persia, and is a popular dish for Ramadan amongst Indian and Pakistani Muslims.

Maybe Dick would like a Muslim to explain to him that the celebrations around the time of Christmas were  originally pagan, and if he’d really like to celebrate Christmas, he could start by spreading the message of peace and goodwill to all, regardless of their creed or colour.

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