Sydney - Sydney's main mosque has warned its followers not to have anything to do with Christmas, local media reported on Sunday.

The head imam at Lakemba Mosque, Sheikh Yahya Safi, told followers during prayers it is a “sin” to even wish people a “Merry Christmas,” The Sun-Herald newspaper reported.

The imam reportedly warned the congregation “disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path.”

But Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohammad said the comments were irresponsible, and that Islam's foundations were peace, co-operation, respect and holding other religions in esteem.

Other Muslim leaders said it was right to congratulate people of other religions on their festive days.

Muslims make up 1.5 percent of the population of Australia. A third have origins in Lebanon. - Sapa-dpa