Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Muslims Should Celebrate Christmas

I spent Christmas with my uncle, his wife and their two kids. On Christmas Eve we went to a Sacramento Presbyterian Church that invited the Muslim community to attend celebrations with them, and it turned out to be quite a delightful experience. The senior pastor at the Church, Dr. David Thompson, said that he was surprised when he was invited by the Sheikh of a local Mosque at the end of Ramadhan this year to participate in Eid el Futr at the Mosque. So Dr. Thompson thought it would be nice to invite the local Muslim community to Christmas Mass at their beautiful Church. Dr. Thompson spoke highly of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammed, and he invited Dr. Metwalli Amer (the Egyptian Sheikh at the SALAM Mosque) to speak during the service. Dr. Amer recited the account of the birth of Jesus in the Qur'an, in both Arabic and English. I was pleasantly amazed to be hearing a Sheikh reciting the Quran in Arabic to hundreds of Christians at a huge Church in America on Christmas Eve. Below is a handout given at the Church entrance. Dr. Metwalli read the first paragraph in Arabic first and then in English.

We also spent a lot of time at the house watching Al Iraqiya (that's pretty much all they watch these days), and we saw a lot of coverage of a service at a Baghdad Church. I enjoyed this year's Christmas celebrations very much, and I wish more Muslims would celebrate Christmas, even though the birth of Jesus took place in the spring, according to the Bible. Muslims should at least not frown upon other Muslims who celebrate Christmas. After all, Jesus is a revered Prophet in the Quran. Earlier this year I met an Indian Muslim who asked me why he should celebrate the 'birth of the son of God' and I was surprised to hear him say that, because my parents never equated Christmas with endorsing the Christian belief that Jesus is the son of God.

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