While Islamist terrorists in Gaza warned residents (including Christians) that celebrating Christmas was forbidden and an imam in Canada said congratulating Christians for Christmas is worse than murder, the Egyptian Fatwa Institute published an animated video encouraging Muslims to greet Christians on the holiday (see below).
Christmas greetings in Muslim societies have been a source of controversy in recent years as social media platforms and widespread use of the internet has publicized Islamist positions (both governmental and non-governmental) on the subject forbidding the acknowledgement of the holiday in any form.
In Gaza, leaflets were distributed by the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades (recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S.) which told residents “not to go the way of the Jews and the Christians, indeed God is not for the evil people.”
Speaking to the Muslim Youth of Victoria in British Columbia, Sheikh Younus Kathrada said, “If a person were to commit every major sin – committing adultery, dealing with interest, lying, murder … If a person were to do all of those major sins, they are nothing compared to the sin of congratulating and greeting the non-Muslims on their false festivals.”
Kathrada also decried the fact that Muslims are now close to Christians and warned them not to take part in their holiday celebrations even by wishing them “Merry Christmas.”
“Do you know that you and I must be offended when people say that they worship Jesus, or when they say that Jesus is the son of God? Why do our hearts not react?” he intoned. “There are those who will say to them ‘Merry Christmas.’ What are you congratulating them on? [Are these] congratulations on the birth of your Lord? Is that acceptable to a Muslim? Are you now approving of their beliefs? By saying that you are approving of it.”
Yet in Egypt, the government agency that deals with Islam and contemporary issues urged Muslims to congratulate non-Muslims during their holidays. This behavior, says the video, ” is encouraged by Islam, and is in keeping with the noble manners introduced by the Prophet Mohammed.”
The video, translated by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) explains, “Islam has acknowledged the principle of peaceful coexistence with all people, regardless of their faith. Moreover, Islam has instructed [Muslims] to befriend them, maintain contact with them, to give them presents, to accept presents from them, and to treat them with decency, like they were treated by our Prophet Mohammed.”
The video also warns Muslims not to “fall prey to the extremists and the fanatics, who take from the religion only that which suits their whims.”
Meanwhile in Pakistan, five suspected terrorists who police allege were planning a large-scale attack on Christians on Christmas were arrested in a shootout in Karchi on Christmas Eve. Police seized arms and ammunition in the raid.