Islamic cleric Younus Kathrada has told young Muslims that wishing fellow Canadians a Merry Christmas is a worse sin than adultery, lying, and murder.
Footage published on social media by the Washington D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute shows Imam Kathrada delivering the sermon to the Muslim Youth of Victoria, British Columbia, saying that “with great sadness” he has witnessed Muslims wishing non-Muslims a Merry Christmas and lamented that some “may take party in their holiday as well.”
“Do you know that you and I must be offended when people say they worship Jesus? Or when they say that Jesus is the son of God?” the sheikh asked.
Canadian Cleric Younus Kathrada: Congratulating Christians for Christmas is Worse than Murder pic.twitter.com/1S73XPjfRk
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) December 24, 2018
“There are those who will say to them ‘Merry Christmas.’ What are you congratulating them on?” he asked.
“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.”
Sheikh Kathrada, whose profile on the Muslims in Calgary website describe him as a South African born “community and youth activist,” then 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.”
Merry Christmas dear friends and followers 🎄🙏🏻🌹
— Imam Mohammad Tawhidi (@Imamofpeace) December 24, 2018
The fundamentalist Islamic preacher caveated his statements by saying that Muslims should not “treat the non-Muslims in a bad way,” clarifying, ““I’m not saying, and I’ve never said, go out and just kill them, and do this to them.
“No! Because Allah tells us not to allow the enmity that may exist between you and a people to cause you to be unjust towards them. Rather, be just.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 26, 2016
Iranian-born Australian Shia Muslim scholar Mohammad Tawhidi, an Islamic reformer who celebrates Western culture, promotes Muslim integration, and a keen wisher of Merry Christmases, called Kathrada a “fanatic fundamentalist cleric” and urged his Twitter followers to go to the cleric’s Facebook page “to wish him a Merry Christmas.”
While Kathrada was telling young, Western-born Muslims to refrain from wishing a Merry Christmas to their fellow countrymen, the government of Muslim-majority Iraq declared Christmas day a national holiday and gave their “warmest wishes to Christians in Iraq and around the world.”
The @IraqiGovt announces Christmas Day to be an official holiday across Iraq. Happy Christmas to our Christian citizens, all Iraqis and to all who are celebrating around the world.
— Government of Iraq – الحكومة العراقية (@IraqiGovt) December 24, 2018
We extend our warmest wishes to Christians in Iraq and around the world for a very happy and peaceful Christmas. pic.twitter.com/eqOR2JJ0LS
— Government of Iraq – الحكومة العراقية (@IraqiGovt) December 25, 2018
And for the first time since 2011 in conflict-stricken Syria, Christians and Muslims celebrated Christmas in Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, Tartus, Homs, and Hama.