Christmas’ unlikely star: Amazon ad makes Leicester Imam a festive face
Forget the northern star; Imam Zubeir Hassam is the Midlands star.
A man who very few people may know by name, he is the clergyman selected by Amazon to front their 2016 Christmas ad this year.
Depicting the story of an imam and a priest at Christmas, the advert shows the two respected faith leaders exchanging presents, which both turn out to be knee supports for their prayers and sermons.
Seen across all major channels, the commercial was praised by social commentators from every background.
For Zubeir, he says it was a good reflection of true faith relationships.
“The reaction from my community across Leicestershire has been tremendous,” he said during a Facebook Live video on Al Jazeera.
“It was the reflection that showed that the two faiths get along very well ... And I think that hug we gave each other that really got everyone.”
When not on television, Zubeir is a principal of the Muslim School Oadby, in Leicestershire, whilst his co-star, Reverend Gary Bradley, is the vicar of Little Venice in London.
The pair have since become friends following their unexpected rise to fame and are in regular contact with each other.
Whether or not the duo will be exchanging gifts this Christmas is yet to be seen, yet Zubeir insists it is something he promotes amongst all communities.
“We do this kind of thing all the time (exchanging gifts),” he said. “It is just that it is never shown on television.
“There are not reports going out saying faith leaders are getting on. This ad has probably broken that ice and has brought more people together.
“I am sure come Christmas, neighbours will be knocking on each other’s doors, saying ‘I am Zubeir and I bring something for you’. I do that often in my street where I live and take food to the doors.”