The indispensable Khaled Abu Tomeh reports for the Jerusalem Post on the Hamas grinches who are stealing Christmas
The restriction, which is not connected to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, was included in an internal document issued on December 15 by Dr. Walid Owaidah, Director-General of the General Authority of Preaching and Guidance in the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Wakf and Religious Affairs.
The document, addressed to Dr. Abdel Hadi al-Agha, Deputy Minister of the Wakf and Religious Affairs, is titled: “The Activities of the General Authority of Preaching and Guidance to Limit Interaction with Christmas.”
Hamas defended the decision and claimed that it applies only to Muslims who attend non-Muslim celebrations.
The document recommends a series of measures to “limit interaction” with Christmas celebrations in the Gaza Strip. The measures include, among other things, issuing a fatwa (Islamic ruling) and waging an online campaign about the need to impose restrictions on the celebrations. In addition, the document recommends that Muslim preachers and media outlets participate in the campaign.
The number of Christians in the Gaza Strip has significantly dropped in the past decade. In 2009, there was an estimated 3,000 Christians in the Gaza Strip. Today, there are less than 1,000 still living in the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave.
Several Palestinians condemned the Hamas move as “racist” and said it was a sign of the Islamist movement’s ongoing crackdown on Palestinian Christians.
“This is a dangerous document by Hamas,” said Ramallah-based human rights activist Shaheen Fahmi. “This is a crime and those responsible should be held accountable.”
Political activist Mohammad Abdel Salam said that the Hamas decision was not different from those taken by ISIS and the Taliban. “These folks don’t recognize the Christians as natives of the land,” he added.
Mohammed Abu Jayyab, a journalist from the Gaza Strip, said that he was hoping to see Hamas devise a plan “to curb officials’ corruption and encroachment on people’s rights” instead of targeting Christians. “Every year, we affirm that we are incapable of bringing about positive change,” Abu Jayyab wrote on his Facebook page. “We continue to adhere to all failed plans and policies.”
The Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA), a secular PLO group, expressed outrage over the Hamas decision, dubbing it “a blatant departure from the values of tolerance and brotherhood that have always prevailed among the Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims alike.”
The group said that the decision was “a clear violation of both the [Palestinian] Declaration of Independence and the Palestinian Basic Law, which stipulate reject Intolerance and emphasize the right of all to freely practice their religious rites.”
It further warned of the danger of such moves, saying that they “pose a threat to the Palestinian civil peace, provoke abhorrent sectarian strife, and serve only the enemies of our people, especially the Israeli occupier.”
The Palestinian Popular Struggle Front, another PLO political group, condemned the policies and measures of the Hamas movement that target public freedoms and rights guaranteed by Palestinian law.
Meanwhile, the world’s media have picked up this story so as to highlight the plight of Christians under the Islamist Hamas leadership.
Ho ho ho, just kidding. Not only are they silent night on this, but they are trying to paint Gaza as really in to the Christmas spirit.
When I Google “Christmas Gaza,” the search results includes stories and photos that play up Christmas in Gaza, like the following:
And where possible, Israel is blamed for any lack of Christmas cheer. For example:
It’s a rare success story in impoverished Gaza, where unemployment has reached around 50%, and exports are severely restricted by Israel.
The Christian population in Gaza, home to some 2 million people, has dwindled to about 1,000 as members of the tiny community have steadily emigrated. However, Christmas decorations can be widely seen on store fronts and at restaurants across the Gaza Strip.
As I wrote in my previous post, the MSM is complicit in the bad behavior of the palestinian leadership and the suffering of the palestinian Arab people.
Hat tip: Michal