Muslim Social Media Users Debate Whether Christmas Greetings Are Allowed Under Islam

A bauble emblazoned with Merry Christmas hangs from a Christmas tree on display inside an El Corte Ingles SA department store in Valencia, Spain, on Monday, Nov. 21, 2016. Christmas is providing a boost for thousands of Spanish jobseekers as retailers increase their seasonal staff to meet renewed demand from …
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TEL AVIV — Arab social media users have been posting thoughts on the question of whether Muslims are allowed to wish Christians a merry Christmas during the holiday season.

An especially popular hashtag has been “#christmas_greeting,” with Hazaa Bin Zayed, a member of the United Arab Emirates royal family, posting a Christmas greeting, which ignited a heated debate online.

Fahed Mahmoud, a social media user who is also from the Emirates, wasn’t happy with the Christmas greeting and wrote, “If this despicable man is prepared to spread abomination among his people, if he’s prepared to anger his God and his religion and sends greetings to the infidels on their holiday and to their infidel cult, a cult in which they curse Allah, praised be his name, because they are actually celebrating the birth of God’s son, so it crosses all lines and becomes bad and dangerous.”

One of the most prominent responses was from Waseem Yosef, a well-known preacher, who attacked Fahed Mahmoud, writing, “You are in a country that has a minister of tolerance, a country that has a law against discrimination and hate; you are in a country that prefers and calls for mutual existence and peace. I expect those responsible to use the law against discrimination and hate against these people.”

 

Academic Miriam Ali was also critical, writing, “May God curse you and your way of thinking, you sick individual.”

One of the leaders of a scout movement in the Emirates, Mona Ghareeb, retweeted Zayed’s original Christmas greeting, added greetings from the royal family from previous years and wrote to Mahmoud, “I want to hear your voice,” while continuing to attack him in separate tweets.

Tunisian academic Hakeem Trabulsi chose to respond by attaching a holiday greeting card that said “Merry Christmas.”

Egyptian human rights activist Bebo wrote, “My God, there’s so much evil in this tweet, evil that could fill an ocean. Thank Allah we are far from the Wahhabist mentality of blood and hostility to humanity.”

Continuing his reply to Fahed, Bebo wrote below an image of a destroyed church in Iraq, “Look at your masters the Shi’ites and how they are saving the churches from the hands of your Wahhabi Salafist brothers to repair it so the melody and prayer of peace can be heard.”

Of course, there were also those who opposed the Christmas greeting.

Social media user Shama al-Shehy wrote that the Muslim Caliphate used to forbid Christians from celebrating their holidays in public.

“The prince of the faithful (the Caliph) Omar Bin al-Khattab and his friends and the rest of the Muslim leaders decreed that they (the Christians) won’t celebrate their holidays in Muslim lands unless they do so discretely in their homes,” he tweeted.

Saudi academic Saad al-Uteibi pulled a quote from the Quran regarding the issue of Jesus’ identity as the son of God.

“They claimed that Allah gave birth to a child,” goes the quote. “This shook the skies, tore apart the Earth and destroyed the mountains, the claim that Allah has a child. Allah has no child, he who is on Earth and in heaven is nothing but a slave.”

Twitter user “Proud Qatari” chose to focus on what the user called the “hypocrisy” of the Emirates rather than the greeting itself, especially that of Yousef, writing that the Emirates holds hundreds of political prisoners “and the minister of tolerance is aware.”

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