The day begins with Soborno Isaac, a 5-year-old Muslim boy who brings home a Christmas tree to celebrate December 25, the birth of Jesus Christ. However, there was a problem. His mother, a devoted Muslim, did not like the idea. The conflict between mother and son began heating up.
Isaac: Why can’t a Muslim celebrate Christmas, Mom?
Mom: I don’t know, and I don’t need to know. All I know is I’m a Muslim, and Muslims don’t celebrate Christmas.
Isaac: I’m also a Muslim, Mom, and I love my religion, which is Islam. However, I’m also a Hindu, a Buddha, a Jew, and a Christian. I know we love Eid, but we should also love Yom Kippur, Saraswati, Buddha Purnima, and also Christmas. We should love all religions, and I think we should celebrate every holiday as our own.
The 40-year-old traditional mind was unwilling to accept the reasoning of a 5-year-old mind. As a result, Isaac’s mom threw the Christmas tree into a garbage truck. Isaac became enraged and left home, saying he would not return until he found his Christmas tree. On his way out, he wrote a very emotional letter to his mom in the lobby.
I love you, but I did not like you throwing out my Christmas tree. I know you are a Muslim; I’m a Muslim, too. However, I’m not only a Muslim but also a Hindu, a Buddha, a Jew, and a Christian. I love Eid, but I also love Saraswati, Magha Puja, Yom Kippur, and Christmas.
I love all holidays because whatever we can enjoy in human products should instantly become ours, including Eid and Christmas, regardless of their origin. As a Muslim, I am proud of my humanity when I can acknowledge the festivals of other religions as my own. We should all feel a great gratitude that every great holiday, including Christmas, is ours.
I know you are praying for me to find my Christmas tree. I love you, Mom.
While reading the letter, he caught the attention of singer Lawrence Rush. Lawrence liked the letter so much that he read it twice and was motivated to help Isaac find the tree.
Meanwhile, Isaac’s mom realized her mistake, and she made a banner with Isaac’s quote: “I’m a Muslim, but I’m also a Hindu, a Buddha, a Jew, and a Christian. I love Eid, Durga Puja, Buddha Purnima, Hanukkah, and Christmas. I belong to all religions, and every great holiday is mine, including Eid and Christmas.” She went to every single mall, holding up her banner in hopes of finding Isaac.
Lawrence and Isaac tried their best to find the Christmas tree, but they couldn’t find it. Lawrence gave up, but Isaac refused to give up and went home without his tree. It was Christmas Eve, and Isaac was sitting in Central Park reading his letter to his mom aloud.As the people dispersed, one of the people there was Kathleen Raab.
She thanked Isaac for changing her perspective on Muslims. When Isaac asked why she wanted to take a picture of him even though he wasn’t a celebrity, Katie responded, “You might not be a celebrity, but you are a hero for people like me whose entire view of the world has changed because of you.” They became friends instantly, and Kathleen offered her help. They hired a horse carriage to take them all around the city in hopes of finding Isaac’s Christmas tree. They found the tree in the Central Park.
Isaac’s mother apologized to him and decided to celebrate Christmas. They have been celebrating Christmas ever since . This message of love has spread around the world, including to Bangladesh where a physics teacher Nahid Afzal, his son Faiyaz, and their friend Noman Lam decided to promote Isaac’s philosophy. They made 68,000 posters for the 68,000 villages of Bangladesh. The posters stated in Bangla, “I’m a Muslim, but I’m also a Hindu, a Buddha, a Jew, and a Christian. I love Eid, Durga Puja, Buddha Purnima, Hanukkah, and Christmas. I belong to all religions, and every holiday, including Eid and Christmas, is mine.”
These series of events convinced me to make this movie. I wanted to share this story with people, especially with the 1.7 billion Muslims in the world so they too could be inspired by Isaac. However, I’m not a professional writer or director, and I didn’t have the necessary equipment to produce a movie. Furthermore, Isaac is a math and science hero, not a movie star.
To help make this movie, I called my friend, Uday Bangali and Hrishikesh Chakraborty. What I did not tell them was that I didn’t even have a camera. Instead, all I had was a broken iPhone that had been dropped many times. I wasn’t even sure if it was capable of recording anymore. Most of the time, the shooting of the movie was done using a camera from Uday’s production, Bangali Films.
Soborno Isaac is a fan of Kazi Nazrul Islam, the poet Laureate of Bangladesh, who in 1920, expressed his vision of religious harmony in an editorial in Joog Bani, “Come brother Hindu! Come Musalman! Come Buddhist! Come Christian! Let us transcend all barriers, let us forsake forever all smallness, all lies, all selfishness and let us call brothers as brothers. We shall quarrel no more…”
Rashidul Bari, a doctoral student at Columbia University, teaches mathematics at Bronx C. College. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org and website is Bari Science Lab