• Calgary, Alberta


The attacking posture of Kunio Miyamura’s Jan. 9 letter, “Celebrating a respectful sentiment ” — in response to my Dec. 30 letter (“Overbearing demand on Christmas“) — is far too common as it’s the result of a perceived slight to Christianity.

May I remind Miyamura that, taken as a whole and not merely as a selection of churchgoers, the expat community in Japan does indeed have little to do with Christianity. Or must we have white skin to be counted in the odd idea of Christianity somehow having general relevance among expatriates here?

Miyamura’s reference from out of nowhere to the sentiments of “jihadists” is suspicious. Miyamura seems to have taken the trouble to find out that my name is Arabic, but then perhaps equated Arab-ness with Muslim-ness and, thus, jihadist “evil.”

It’s attitudes like this that make me immensely grateful for a place like Japan, where the defunct, primitive legacy of Christian-Muslim rivalry is utterly alien. That’s because Japan is a nation where such ancient religious rivalries have no meaning, and in that sense, Japan is the most progressive place on the planet.

And that’s the reason why overbearing demands by articles like Kevin Rafferty’s “Spare a thought for the holy day” (Dec. 24) are meaningless in a Japanese context — including Miyamura’s demand that I learn some odd Christian song.

Japan is not Christian. It has no obligation to “spare a thought” for the Christian roots of Christmas — certainly less than Christians do for Christmas’ original pagan roots.

usman makhdoom

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