Humanists Deny Christmas Gifts to Muslim Children

(COMMENTARY)

So this is Christmas ... 

. . . and as sure as we’ll get robins on greeting cards and holly on puddings, once again ‘Islamophobic’, ‘covert’, ‘fundamentalist’ evangelicals are facing the wrath of Britain’s secular journalists – for sending presents to poor children.

Eleven million boxes of items and toys are sent out all over the world – including thousands from Britain - by the US-based charity Samaritan’s Purse to recipient churches who then distribute them, with separate tracts about the meaning of Christmas.

Polly Toynbee, The UK’s  Guardian  newspaper columnist

Polly Toynbee, The UK’s Guardian newspaper columnist

The UK’s Guardian newspaper columnist Polly Toynbee, now Vice-President of the 70,000-strong charity Humanists UK, writes most years a piece of propaganda for the atheist cause in the comment section of her newspaper – Britain’s leading left-liberal paper.

This year, under the headline Beware evangelical Christians bearing gifts, the article describes a “pernicious, hidden agenda.”

“It’s run by Samaritan’s Purse, fundamentalist American evangelical Christian missionaries. After the boxes are dispatched, they are then delivered along with a missionary book of Bible stories…” writes Toynbee.

She links that to Samaritan’s Purse founder Franklin Graham, fourth son of world evangelist Billy Graham, whom she describes as “strongly anti-gay and anti-same sex marriage.”  And she describes the Christmas deliveries by churches in Muslim countries as “gift-wrapped Islamophobia.”

“Most people packing up shoeboxes don’t know they are used for anti-Muslim proselytising. Or that they are backing a pro-Trump, anti-gay message.” she said.

The dictionary definition of ‘proselytize’ is ‘convert or attempt to convert from one religion, belief or opinion to another’ – which, if made illegal, would render Toynbee unemployed.

Christian blogger Stephen Kneale, a minister in the Muslim-majority parish in Glodwick near Manchester, was not impressed.

“Ever the sleuth, [Toynbee] uncovered the sinister agenda by going onto the Samaritan’s Purse website and quoting it. She must beware the glass house she stands in as a vice-president of Humanists UK who regularly tell all religious people – including Muslims – their faith is nonsense and a pack of lies.” said Kneale.

Franklin and Billy Graham of Samaritan’s Purse

Franklin and Billy Graham of Samaritan’s Purse

Scholars say it is religiously illiterate to imagine there is anything inherently anti-Muslim about Christian material that merely discusses Jesus. Chairman of the government-watched Council for Christian and Muslim Relations in High Wycombe, Dr. Chauhdry Shafique, a Muslim and former of Mayor High Wycombe to the west of London, said, “‘You can’t be a Muslim without believing in Jesus Christ, a very special prophet, and believing he’s going to come back again and sort out the world’s problems.”

He agreed the shoebox scheme was “quite wrapped up with aggressive missionary purposes” but said, “I have no problem in agreeing that that this is the real world and Muslim charities do the same thing. If you can reach out to far places you pick up huge amounts of Brownie points. It is a guaranteed route to salvation in the hereafter.  The joy of converting others to Islam is unbounded.”

Meanwhile, free Guardian publicity for the scheme, which has been running since 1993, means that fourteen thousand readers - many of whom may never have heard of Samaritan’s Purse - clicked on Toynbee’s piece.

Just one football club in Glamorgan, Wales sends 10,000 shoeboxes at Christmas, according to the Guardian.

The SP website retells the story of a 98-year old World War II veteran Theron Jennings in the US who spends every day sewing small quilts for the children. He started three years ago when he was 95, despite never sewing a stitch, because he heard a story.

His daughter told of a village in Africa where Muslim extremists had killed all the parents, leaving roughly twenty children orphans. Jennings was moved by a woman in a neighboring village who adopted them all.

He hopes the 400 quilts he’s sewn over the past four years will “teach ’em about God. Our hope is that they’ll learn about Jesus.” he said.

Humanists UK do not send gifts to anyone at Christmas, least of all poor Muslim children, although they give their imprimatur to certain ‘inclusive charities’ that do.

“What could be worse? Giving shoe boxes as Christmas gifts to children of all faiths including Muslims so no child is left out, or discriminating on the basis that someone might take offense?” Shafique said.

Neil Cole, UK Director of Operations at Samaritan’s Purse UK said many children, including Muslims, had never received a gift in their life.

“Jesus helped others out of compassion and love and we seek to do the same.” said Cole.

Cole went on to say that the booklet The Greatest Gift  gave children receiving shoeboxes the opportunity to know more about Jesus and about Christmas - “just like we do here through nativity plays, carol concerts.”

”Should there be any dissension in any community about the giving of shoeboxes, no distribution will take place. It is exactly because of the way we handle ourselves and respect local communities that Samaritan's Purse is welcome in so many countries around the world, with Governments of all religions and none inviting us.”