Building HOPE Organising Stories of HOPE MPs Highlight Muslim Generosity During Christmas Period The 'Muslim' Christmas hashtag has been trending on social media, following a Parliamentary report about Muslims' charitable efforts at this time of year. The hashtag #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas has been trending on Twitter, celebrating British Muslims’ charitable contributions over the Christmas period. This follows a new cross-party report showing Muslims in Britain are not recognised for the amount of charity work they do. Tory MP Anna Soubry and Labour MP West Streeting, co-chairs of a parliamentary group that addresses Muslim issues and Islamophobia, said the role British Muslim charities play during the festive season is “wilfully ignored” and blamed the media for an inaccurate portrayal of Islam. Soubry said the findings show that the three million Muslims in Britain were supporting the poorest in their communities. She added: “I have been deeply moved by the evidence we have heard. The number of British Muslim charities supporting non-Muslims during the season of good will is testament to the true nature of the Islamic Faith.” CONTRIBUTIONS The ‘A Very Merry Muslim Christmas’ report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims states their contributions often go unnoticed because they are not considered newsworthy. Soubry and Streeting criticised the media for mostly focusing on fears about charities bring abused for the financing of terrorism – even through evidence points to the near-inexistent levels of such abuse within the sector. During the five terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower tragedy the UK suffered this year, the frontline charity work done by British Muslims has become more visible. In the aftermath of the Manchester bombing, for example, Muslims rushed alongside other Britons to give blood to hospitals and offer rides home. The APPG’s report says: “These preliminary findings will, we hope, move us to look again at a community of less than three million people who, through their charitable activities, punch far above their weight.” Former Cabinet Minister Sayeeda Warsi, treasurer of the APPG, said Christmas was an appropriate time to publish the report. “I think what we are trying to do is end the year with good will and we think it is right to release the findings of this report during this festive period,” the Conservative peer said. RESPONSE The response on Twitter has been very positive, with the hashtag #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas trending at number one for hours – but it has also been criticised on multiple fronts. Some Muslims on Twitter questioned why they needed to ‘prove’ their charitable efforts and said the campaign felt forced. One person said the hashtag reminded them of how Muslims condemned every terrorist attack by Islamist extremists, even though they had nothing to do with the attacks. Other Muslims condemned the use of a ‘Muslim’ Merry Christmas for religious reasons. Finally some used the hashtag and attempted to link it to terrorism or dismiss the contributions. However, the majority of the tweets welcomed the recognition of British Muslims’ contributions.