The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday defended Christmas against attempts to suppress it in case it offends people of other faiths.

Dr Rowan Williams said those who try to ban Nativity plays and carol singing do not understand how people of all religions love the Christmas story and respect its message.

His intervention is likely to be welcomed by Christians. Unlike many colleagues, he has said little to criticise secular campaigners and public authorities who marginalise Christianity.

Several Christian leaders have stood up recently for the religious nature of Christmas.

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