UK minister says 'inshallah' to Christmas carol concerts

UK minister says 'inshallah' to Christmas carol concerts
2 min read
23 November, 2020
The minister's response has left some scratching their heads.
Matt Hancock was criticised in July for imposing a snap lockdown before Eid [Getty]

As the people across the UK wonder whether the country will be open for Christmas, one British minister has hinted that traditional carol concerts may still go ahead - "Inshallah".

Speaking in an interview on LBC radio, Health Secretary Matt Hancock used the Arabic-language phrase inshallah - meaning "if God wills" - in response to a question on whether the traditional gatherings of Christmas choirs will be allowed.

"Inshallah," Hancock replied, without giving further details about the government's Christmas plans.

The minister's response has left some scratching their heads.

"Can someone tell me why Matt Hancock replied 'Inshallah' when pressed on whether there will be Carol concerts at Xmas????? I'm so baffled," wrote one Twitter user.

"This wouldn't be the ironic context would it? Implying that something will never happen or can be used as a gentle way of declining invitations?" wrote another, referring to how the phrase is often used by Muslims and Arabic-speakers.

Some, meanwhile, took offence at the term's use.

"Was he making a mockery of the term?" wrote a Twitter user.

Earlier this year, Hancock came under fire from Muslim community leaders after announcing a snap lockdown just hours before the Muslim celebration of Eid al-Adha.

The UK is currently under a nationwide coronavirus lockdown due to end next week on 2 December.

As the deadline looms, speculation has swirled over what type of restrictions will be in place over the Christmas period, and whether families will be allowed to gather.

Downing Street has said a tiered system will be introduced across the country after the lockdown ends, with tighter restrictions in some areas.

The government, under pressure due to the economic impact of the outbreak, is due to announce on Thursday which tier each region will fall under.

The UK has seen more than 55,000 deaths from some 1.5 million cases - one of the worst rates in the world - and has been grappling to control a second spike of infections.

We approached Matt Hancock for a comment to the "inshallah" remark but did not receive a response by the time of publication.

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