Mosque says to avoid Western holidays 'Thanksgiving Out' <table border="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr><td> </td></tr><tr><td>Stewart Bell</td></tr><tr><td>National Post</td></tr></tbody></table> Wednesday, October 03, 2007 TORONTO - A Toronto mosque is telling Muslims not to say "Happy Thanksgiving" or invite friends into their homes for turkey dinner on the holiday weekend. The Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque says to "avoid participating" in dinners, parties or greetings on Thanksgiving because it is a kuffaar, or non-Muslim, celebration. A two-part article on the mosque Web site says Muslims should also "stay completely away" from "Halloween trick-and treat nonsense," Christmas, New Year's, anniversaries, birthdays and Earth Day. "How can we bring ourselves to congratulate or wish people well for their disobedience to Allah? Thus expressions such as:Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Birthday, Happy New Year, etc, are completely out," it says. In 2003, the Khalid mosque, which mainly serves the Toronto Somali-Canadian community, apologized for a newsletter that compared wishing someone a Merry Christmas to congratulating a murderer. At the time, a junior employee was blamed for the slight, but the mosque's Web site has since posted similar edicts covering not only Christmas but also virtually every other Western celebration. Muslims who participate in the holidays are termed ignorant and hypocritical. While not all are religious holidays, the Internet site says Muslims are required to be different from non-Muslims "in matters which are representative of them or are characteristic of their identity." Also banned, it says, are: watching sports or soap operas, walking dogs, family photos, wedding bands, Western hats, mingling and shaking hands with the opposite sex. "Allah and his messenger have warned us against following or imitating non-Muslims in things which are characteristic of their religion or beliefs. This is more emphasized in the case of their eids [festivals] or occasions, which always hold some religious or ideological non-Islamic meanings, and on which the kuffaar indulge in many evil practices." The Web site also has a question-and-answer section, which advises that Muslims can join political parties only if they are "able to exert some influence on the direction of the party so that it will take an Islamic direction." Elsewhere in the Q&A section, it says that, "with strong determination and patience, the world will God-willing be under the Muslims' control." The mosque is run by a federally registered charity. Rival factions within the Somali Muslim community are fighting in court for control of the charity. The mosque president could not be reached yesterday.