I Love Christmas: A Muslim Child’s Mission to Change the World

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.

Kathleen Raab thanked Isaac for changing her perception on Muslims. And when Isaac asked why she wanted to take a picture with him even though he wasn’t a celebrity, Katy responded, “You might not be a celebrity, but you are a hero for people like me, whose whole view of the world has changed because of you.”

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.

While reading the letter, Isaac caught the attention of singer Lawrence Rush. Lawrence liked the letter so much that he was motivated to help Isaac find the Christmas tree.

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.

Dear Mom,

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.

Yours,

Soborno Isaac

Soborno Isaac message of love has spread around the world, including to Bangladesh, where a physics teacher Nahid Afzal & and his son Faiyaz decided to promote Isaac’s philosophy.

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.

Mazid Ahmed (who is a Muslim), a fan of Soborno Isaac, promoting his message in Chadpur (চাঁদপুর), to create a world without terrorism.

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.

Joy Kumar Roy (a Hindu), a fan of Soborno Isaac, promoting his message in Shariatpur (শরিয়তপুর), to create a world without terrorism.

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.

Hossain Tuhin promoting Isaac’s message in Pirojpur (পিরোজপুর) to create a world without terrorism.

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.

Three fans of Soborno ISaac, Nahid Afzal, Faiyaz and Noman Lam decided to promote Isaac’s philosophy in Bangladesh. 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.”

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.”

In a hope to create a world without terrorism, fans of Soborno Isaac posted 68,000 posters in 68,000 villages of Bangladesh.

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.

Bayejid Hawlader, a fan of Soborno Isaac, promoting his message in Gopalgonj (গোপালগঞ্জ) to create a world without terrorism.

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 rb3080@columbia.edu and website is Bari Science Lab

About the Author
Rashidul Bari moved to the United States in 2000. He is currently a doctoral student at Columbia University and he teaches mathematics at Bronx Community College. Email : rb3080@columbia.edu
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