“I believe that birthdays are not a part of our religion. That pertains to both children and adults,” the 49-year-old imam Abdikadir Mahamed Yussuf told Fæderlandsvennen.
Yusuf is the leader of the mosque in Posebyen in Kristiansand, which is the largest Muslim community in Southern Norway.
“We Muslims have our religion. If it states in the Quran or hadith that birthdays are okay, we say okay. I believe it doesn't say that. Therefore we aren't saying ‘don't go to birthday parties'. We aren't saying ‘you are wrong and it is forbidden'. But we are saying ‘you shouldn't do it',” Yussuf said.
It is also against the religion to wish people a merry Christmas, according to the imam. He doesn't care if other imams agree with him.
“What I care about is whether it is part of the religion or not. I don't greet women, but if another imam does so, it doesn't mean that he isn't Muslim. He just has another interpretation.”
Yussuf stressed that his statements are his own opinions and not necessarily the official view of the mosque.
The imam also made it crystal-clear what he felt about the extremist group Isis.
“If the youth support Isis, they are wrong. One hundred percent,” he said.