No 'Merry Christmas' for Christians in Hamas-ruled Gaza
Christmas will be even more fraught this year for the estimated 1,000 Christians, mostly Greek Orthodox, living in terrorist Hamas- and Muslim-governed Gaza, home to more than two million Muslims.
(And no, in case you were wondering, although Gaza shares a border with Israel, no Jews live there. The Muslims won't allow it.)
Like most of the world, the inhabitants of Gaza have been hit by the Wuhan coronavirus, and authorities have restricted movement, closing down businesses and schools. And the Gazan Christians won't be able to travel to Muslim-ruled Bethlehem, where Christians believe that Jesus was born, to celebrate, because this town is also suffering from Wuhan coronavirus and has similar restrictions in place.
Adding to all this, the Algemeiner Journal reported that a leaked Hamas document recommended that Muslims in Gaza restrict their dealings with Christians during the holiday season.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs document, dated Dec. 15, called for "activities by the directorate of preaching and spiritual guidance to limit interaction with Christmas."
Whoops! Realizing that this attitude might not help them internationally, Hamas authorities quickly contradicted their own memo.
Hamas said the reaction was exaggerated and that it only wanted to ensure Muslims marked Christian holidays in accordance with Islamic law.
"There was never any intention to offend Christians or limit their ability to celebrate and perform their religious rituals," said Bassem Naim, a Hamas official.
And what is Islamic law? "Limit interactions with Christians" — and other non Muslims — during their special holidays.
Or, other than that, Christians, enjoy your holiday. Or else!
Image credit: Pixabay public domain.