United Arab Emirates declares December 24 holiday: 'Mohammed's birthday'
I checked, and this does not appear to be an Onion-like spoof. Emirates 24/7 appears to be a legitimate news site based in Dubai, with stories like “New hospitals in Dubai: Meraas Healthcare launched” and “New UAE rules on import of pesticides.”
Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, and Chairman of the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, has declared Thursday, December 24, an official holiday for the public sector to mark the birth anniversary of the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH), postponed from December 23.
A circular issued by the Minister of Education stated that the decision is in implementation of the provisions of Paragraph 5, Article 100 of the Cabinet Resolution No. 13 of 2012 and regulations of the decree of Federal Law No. 11 of 2008 on human resources in the federal government and its amendments, which defines the public holidays of ministries and federal authorities in the country.
Just coincidentally upstaging Christmas. And putting the holiday on the Gregorian calendar used by the West, not on the lunar calendar used by Islam.
Of course, Christmas on December 25 is a convention; nobody knows the exact date of Christ’s birth, just as nobody knows Mohammed’s, either.
This is just pathetic in my book. Of all the Arab states, the UAE tends to be the least offensive to Western sensibilities. But not today.