The (British) Red Cross bans Christmas
Christmas has been banned by the Red Cross from its 430 fund-raising shops.
Staff have been ordered to take down decorations and to remove any other signs of the Christian festival because they could offend Moslems.
The charity’s politically-correct move triggered an avalanche of criticism and mockery last night - from Christians and Moslems.
Christine Banks, a volunteer at a Red Cross shop in New Romney, Kent, said: ‘We put up a nativity scene in the window and were told to take it out. It seems we can’t have anything that means Christmas. We’re allowed to have some tinsel but that’s it.
‘When we send cards they have to say season’s greetings or best wishes. They must not be linked directly to Christmas.
‘When we asked we were told it is because we must not upset Moslems.’
Mrs Banks added: ’ We have been instructed that we can’t say anything about Christmas and we certainly can’t have a Christmas tree.
’ I think the policy is offensive to Moslems as well as to us. No reasonable person can object to Christians celebrating Christmas. But we are not supposed to show any sign of Christianity at all.’
Labour peer Lord Ahmed, one of the country’s most prominent Moslem politicians, said: ‘It is stupid to think Moslems would be offended.
‘The Moslem community has been talking to Christians for the past 1,400 years. The teachings from Islam are that you should respect other faiths.’
He added: ‘In my business all my staff celebrate Christmas and I celebrate with them. It is absolutely not the case that Christmas could damage the Red Cross reputation for neutrality - I think their people have gone a little bit over the top.’
The furore is a fresh blow to the image of what was once one of Britain’s most respected charities.
The British Red Cross lost friends this year over its support for the French illegal immigrant camp at Sangatte and its insistence on concentrating large efforts on helping asylum seekers.
Yesterday officials at the charity’s London HQ confirmed that Christmas is barred from the 430 shops which contributed more than £20million to its income last year.
‘The Red Cross is a neutral organisation and we don’t want to be aligned with any political party or particular philosophy,’ a spokesman said.
WAR ON CHRISTMAS! Somebody cue O’reilly. It is just possible there are some facts missing from this story. For example, the BRC has not banned Christmas from its website, which includes this nifty gift offer:
Looking for a gift with the eggs-factor this festive season? Why not shell out for a present that could really make a difference? By donating to our ducks campaign, you will receive a beautiful cotton shopping bag and gift card – the ideal present for your loved ones this Christmas.
They also have a whole page of charity Christmas products, including cards, decorations, and clothing items.