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Hoax - Broadmeadows Shopping Centre Christmas Celebrations Ban

Protest message circulating via social media claims that the Broadmeadows Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia is not displaying Christmas decorations or having a Santa this year. The message implies that this supposed Christmas ban is to appease the Muslim community.

christmas decorations

© kjpargeter

Brief Analysis
The claims in the message are total nonsense. Like other shopping centres all around the nation, Broadmeadows is currently adorned throughout with Christmas decorations. And Santa arrived at the centre on November 23rd and will be in residence every day until Christmas Eve. Sharing this absurd and unfounded protest message is utterly pointless.

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Broadmeadows Christmas Ban Hoax

Detailed Analysis

According to an irate protest message that is currently gaining momentum on Facebook, the Broadmeadows Shopping Centre in Melbourne, Australia is not celebrating Christmas this year. The message claims that the centre has no Christmas decorations on display and Santa is not in attendance. The message lays the blame for the supposed Christmas ban squarely at the feet of the Muslim community.  It suggests that, since Muslims are allowed to celebrate their own beliefs in Australia, the rights of other citizens to celebrate Christmas should not be eroded. The message asks that people stand with those who created the protest to help "fight for what is ours".

But, no fight is required. The claims in the message are utter nonsense. Broadmeadows Shopping Centre is currently festooned with Christmas decorations just like it every other year. And, after arriving during the centre's Christmas Parade on November 23, Santa has stayed on, and will be in attendance every day until Christmas Eve.

Presumably in response to the silly claims in the hoax message, the Broadmeadows Shopping Centre has published the following statement:

Hi Everyone,
There may have been some confusion regarding our centre about Christmas.
Just so everyone is aware and on the same page, on Saturday the 23rd of November we had a large parade celebrating Santa’s arrival. We have a brand new magical Santa set with beautiful trees and lights located in front of the customer service desk, where Santa is there everyday taking photos with children until Christmas Eve. Plus we have added new hanging decorations throughout the centre and large dome hanging balls at the Hoyts entertainment precinct that are impossible to miss. Please see images of all attached in this link

And the shopping centre's website even boasts an interactive "Santa's Village" feature.

So, the claims that the centre is not celebrating Christmas are demonstrably false.

In fact, the supposed protest is just one in a parade of such false messages and rumours that circulate every Christmas, in Australia and other nations as well.  Already this year in Australia, the small north Queensland town of Cardwell was hit by an absurd rumour that claimed that the local council had banned Christmas lights displays after pressure from a local mosque. No such ban was implemented and the mosque named in the protest message does not even exist.

From time to time, some councils, community groups or businesses might take perceived political correctness a little too far and attempt to limit certain Christmas events or language.   But, claims of widespread Christmas bans designed to appease offended Muslims are nothing but nonsense. Time and time again such claims are proven conclusively to be without substance. And yet, every year from around November onwards, new incarnations of these tired old hoaxes once again begin circulating and once again raise unnecessary ire and resentments within communities.

Meanwhile, every year, councils, shopping centres, and community groups, and individuals, celebrate Christmas in myriad ways, including Christmas parades, light display competitions, Santa visits, pageants and much more. Major shopping centres across the length and breadth of our wide brown land are festooned with gaudy Christmas decorations. Christmas music is piped nonstop. Tired parents wait in long queues so that their youngsters can be photographed with resident Santas.

If only the people who send on these nonsensical hoaxes would actually get up off their chairs and leave their computers for an afternoon, they would very quickly realize that Christmas is far, far from being banned.

Moreover, the suggestion that Christmas is offensive to all Muslims is, of itself, largely a myth.  A minority of radical Muslims in Western nations might find Christmas celebrations offensive. But, most Muslims are not offended by Christmas at all.  Rather than wishing to stop people from celebrating Christmas, many Muslims are happy to give gifts and greetings to non-Muslim friends and neighbours. Within the confines of their own belief systems, some Muslim families even celebrate Christmas themselves.

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Last updated: December 10, 2013
First published: December 10, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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