On 27 December, Malaysian actor, model and TV host, Awal Ashaari, posted a photo of him and his family clad in pyjamas and posing in front of a Christmas tree while visiting a friend.
“Celebrate love, togetherness and laughter! Next year it will be 4 of us, inshAllah! Thank you @througheyesofmine & @viktorijarandev for having us!” his caption said.
However, many netizens started leaving comments expressing their disapproval that he, as a Muslim, celebrates Christmas and claimed that he was not abiding to religious laws.
These are just a few of the comments that certain netizens left on the post. Of course, there were also those who did not find any issue with the photo and left seasonal greetings on Awal’s post.
- “Yes true Awal 👍👍, it’s all about love, joy, happiness and togetherness. 👨👩👧😍💝”
- “Lots of Love. Merry Christmas 😍”
- “Lovely! Wishing you and your family love, great healthy and success always! 💕”
- MERRY CHRISTMAS 🎄❤️ don’t care about the negative comments. Just be happy and enjoy it.”
- “Thank you for wishing us 😍 Your mindset is what everyone must have! Indeed, Malaysia is a diverse country!”
About one day later, Awal Ashaari addressed the issue on his Instagram stories, saying that his family was just following the dress code for the party and further explained how non-Muslims have often worn ‘baju melayu’ and ‘baju kebaya’ during Hari Raya.
“A lot of people are trying to get my feedback on my Christmas picture that is going viral right now. My answer is simple. Lara goes to an international school and many of her good friends are non-Muslims. They celebrate Christmas,” he wrote.
“As friends, during a festival, we would definitely be invited and we would also want to visit them. When the host gives a dress code, we follow to respect their request.”
“Just like during Aidilfitri, our Chinese, Indian and Christian friends will come to our house to celebrate. They will wear baju Melayu, baju kebaya and robes. They will also eat the ketupat rendang that our mother cooked until late that night.”
“They also respect our religion. They usually buy food in halal restaurants so that we feel comfortable. They also do not drink alcohol in front of us out of respect.”
“When they want to take a picture, they will look for a beautiful spot. For example, on the wall where we hang postcards, plastic ketupat and hanging lights purchased at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. They also upload on Instagram to wish us and say thank you for inviting them over.”
“When they return, they are still in their original religion, Buddhism, Hinduism or Christianity. They do not automatically become Muslims.”
“Try to ‘reverse’ the situation and you will get an answer.”
As we enter the new year, let us leave behind all forms of discrimination among the different races and religions in our country and strive toward a better society and mentality.
What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments below!
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