A Jordanian journalist condemned fatwas being circulated around the Muslim world banning Muslims from wishing Christmas greetings to Christians, saying that such extremism eventually leads to terrorism.
In an article the for Jordanian daily Al-Ghad translated by MEMRI, the journalist and educator Zuleikha Abu Risha condemned Muslim clerics who preach hatred for the other. She said that the proximity of the birthdays of Islam’s prophet Mohammed (on December 23 this year) and Jesus’ on December 25 calls for a double celebration in the spirit of the two faiths’ “historical bonds … of mutual compassion, harmony, and good neighborliness.”
Abu Risha notes that when Islam entered the Levant, all its residents were Christian and that even the Koran supports mutual compassion between Christians and Muslims. This, she says, is in stark contrast to the Jews, who are the enemy of such love, as the Koranic verse states:
“You will find that the worst enemies of the believers are the Jews and the idol worshipers. And you will find that the closest people in friendship to the believers are those who say, ‘We are Christian.’ This is because they have priests and monks among them, and they are not arrogant.”
Abu Risha laments the fact that today fanatic Muslim clerics, “like a plague from the depths of ignorance, backwardness, and the ‘Islam’ created in the factories of hatred and ugliness,” accuse other Muslims of apostasy for greeting Christians on Christmas. They “preach discrimination and racism” and “direct religious sentiments towards resentment and rejection of the other, eradication of his existence, and removal of his human rights.”
She writes that those preachers promote agendas that even the devil himself could not have conjured, and eventually such “extremism, deviation, and radicalism turns into terrorism” of the kind witnessed in Syria and other parts of the Arab world.
Abu Risha ends her article with the following admonition to Al-Ghad’s readers:
“Dear readers, the hatred of Christians and [displays of] loathing towards them in one homeland is the first step towards the terrorism that most of us claim to oppose. Let us celebrate with our brothers in the homeland, and with [all] humanity, our shared holiday – the holiday of love and peace – [if only there would be] peace and love for us all. It is for this that we hope.”