For Islamists, Christmas was for celebrating steady advances against a hated faith

by WorldTribune Staff, December 26, 2016

For many Islamists in 2016, the Christmas spirit included issuing death threats against Egypt’s Coptic Christians and ridding the Middle East of a once dominant spiritual and cultural community.

“Every day we hear and see some radical Muslim clerics speaking strongly against Christians,” said Christian leader Samir Qumsieh of Biet Sahour, near Bethlehem.

Christmas in Bethlehem. /Reuters
Christmas in Bethlehem. /Reuters

“Just recently, one of the sheiks was saying that Christian Copts [in Egypt] should be slaughtered like sheep.”

Qumsieh said he regularly receives death threats, and was targeted in a firebomb attack.

Bethlehem, the biblical birthplace of Jesus Christ, was 86 percent Christian 50 years ago. Now, Christians number no more than 12 percent of the city’s population.

The Clarion Project cited several recent incidents that gave Islamists strong reason to celebrate their hatred for Christians this Christmas season:

  • Omar Hussain, a former British citizen now fighting in Syria, urged his fellow ISIL supporters in the UK to beat up drunken holiday revelers, steal their money and belongings, and send the proceeds to the front. “Wait around the corner from a pub at night,” wrote Hussain. “It only takes a few punches for a drunk kafir to fall unconscious. Take a few ikhwa [brothers] with u and u can rob him of all his things.” He added that the ISIL thugs need not worry about being arrested because the victims would not have their mobile phones to call the police and, in any event, they would be too drunk to remember their attackers’ faces.
  • Then comes the story of British singer Zayn Malik, born to a mixed Muslim-Christian family. After his 14-year-old sister Safaa tweeted a picture of the family’s Christmas tree, his family began receiving threats accusing him of “insulting Islam.”
  • In Germany, a Syrian asylum seeker used a Christmas Amazon gift card to purchase components for a bomb with which police believe he was planning to conduct a terror attack in the Berlin airport. Even though all the purchases were made from the same seller, German police were only alerted to the radicalized Jaber al-Bakr by a tip received from an acquaintance of his.
  • In Cremona, northern Italy, a priest decided not to display a Christian nativity scene at a local cemetery because he feared it might upset relatives of non-Christians buried there. Father Sante Braggie explained that a “small corner of the cemetery is reserved for Muslim graves, and a crib positioned within sight of them could be seen as a lack of respect for followers of other faiths, hurt the sensibilities of Muslims, as well as Indians and even atheists.”
  • In Indonesia, one of the largest Muslim countries, the Indonesian Ulema Council has forbidden Muslims from wearing Christmas clothing or donning any Christmas-related accessories. The fatwa was aimed at shopping mall employees who might choose to wear Santa hats during the holiday season. To enforce the ban, members of the Islam Defenders Front, escorted by police, raided malls in East Java to ensure that employees were abiding by the decree.
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