The Christmas tree controversy is refusing to let go of Amir Khan. After being at the centre of a debate triggered when he displayed his love for his three-year-old daughter by putting up a surprise Christmas tree, the boxer has now received scary death threats.
The huge debate began soon after the boxer shared images of the Christmas tree on Instagram on 19 December. "While everyone's asleep, daddy put the Christmas tree up. Lamaisah's going to be happy," Khan captioned the images of the decorated tree at his home.However, within a day the debate grew more aggressive with some issuing threats to Khan, who is a practising Muslim.
"You must be dead and your family will be dead i promise and allah must promise i and allah see you and check you your angel death came too see you," an Instagram user wrote.
While another wrote the boxer was fortunate to have been living in the UK and not Pakistan where Islamist jihadists recently killed many Christians. "Amir Khan lucky to be in UK, 1 week back, suicide bombing at Pakistani church killed 9 Pakistani Christians because they displayed Christmas trees," the comment read.
This is troubling news, and not just because I’ve long been a fan of Khan, a hard-hitting right-hander who in 2016 gave world champion Canelo Alvarez hell for six rounds before getting knocked out by a devastating right hand.
It’s troubling because it demonstrates the very real divide that still exists today between different cultures, a divide we sometimes appear to not see.
The most powerful idea of our time, arguably, is multiculturalism. It is based on the idea that the more culturally diverse we are, the stronger we are.
It’s an appealing idea in many ways, one rooted in the noble notion that we are all human beings who have worth and value, and if we can only come together as one we can accomplish anything.
We are the world. Love is all we need. (Just like the song.)
Because of its powerful appeal, I wonder if we at times overlook some of the practical challenges multiculturalism presents modern nation-states.
The very definition of a nation is “a sovereign state whose citizens or subjects are relatively homogeneous in factors such as language or common descent.” The French philosopher and historian Ernest Renan went further.
“A nation is a soul, a spiritual principle,” Renan said. “Two things, which in truth are but one, constitute this soul or spiritual principle. One lies in the past, one in the present. One is the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories; the other is present-day consent, the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received in an undivided form.”
The idea that people of all different faiths, races, ethnicities, and heritages can adopt unified beliefs and live together in peace and harmony is a happy one, but it remains to be seen if nation-states are built to withstand such an attempt.
[Image Credit: Amir Khan Instagram]