Organizers of a Christmas market in the Belgian city of Bruges have changed its name to ‘Winter Market’, with some claiming the switch was made so as not to offend Muslims.
According to a report by HLN, instead of Christmas-themed lighting, the market will be lit up with “winter lighting”.
Senator Pol Van Den Driessche of the country’s opposition party called the change “unbelievable and incomprehensible.”
“From now on we can no longer speak of the ‘Christmas market’ in Bruges, but of the ‘winter market’,” he added. “This is not only a ridiculous decision, it also goes against our individuality. Bruges has a very beautiful and old tradition in terms of Christmas. Whether you are religious or not, it is part of our culture. I do not want to give in to this foolish form of ‘tolerance’.”
Some respondents to the article asserted that the change was made to avoid offending Muslims.
“Do we still live in Belgium?” asked one. “Our norms and values are eroding, our culture is disappearing and our feasts need other names. And we must respect their Ramadan and Sugar Feast.”
However, organizer Pieter Vanderyse said the change was made merely to make the market appear more “neutral,” adding that other Belgian cities had changed their ‘Christmas Markets’ to ‘Winter Markets’.
This is not the first time that the Christian foundation of Christmas has been hidden in order to avoid offending Muslims.
In December 2016, the Austrian embassy changed the name of its “Christmas delicacies” to “Winter delicacies” out of consideration for the feelings of Muslims.
Earlier this month, a school in Chesterfield County, Virginia banned Christmas carols containing word “Jesus” in fear they may be offensive to ‘diverse students’.
Last year in Germany, a school was forced to re-locate its annual Christmas party after a single complaint from a Muslim student.
A Christmas tree in the Italian city of Bolzano was also removed from the town hall after fears that it could “hurt the feelings” of or “offend” Muslims.
Last year, a Christmas movie set to be screened in the French city of Langon, where Muslims are allowed to pray on the streets, was banned, because it was “too Christian”.