For many, it’s a joyous holiday greeting for a joyous Christian holiday. But to some it is deemed quite offensive.
In fact, one Canadian imam has declared that, for Muslims, uttering the phrase is worse than murder, reported The Daily Wire. Sheikh Younus Kathrada was speaking to the Muslim Youth of Victoria organization when he explained the grave sin being committed by Muslims who say those two words.
A video posted to Twitter on Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute makes Kathrada’s message clear.
Canadian Cleric Younus Kathrada: Congratulating Christians for Christmas is Worse than Murder pic.twitter.com/1S73XPjfRk
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) December 24, 2018
He began by stating that as Muslims, “Nowadays, of course, we are close to Christians.” He then recounted how some Muslims may not only take part in the “false holiday and celebration,” but they may congratulate the Christians around them in regards to it.
He then said that as Muslims, they “must be offended when people say that they worship Jesus or when they say that Jesus is the son of God” and questioned why Muslims would “congratulate” Christians about Christmas.
“There are those who will say to them ‘Merry Christmas.’ What are you congratulating them on?
“Congratulations on the birth of your Lord? Is that acceptable to a Muslim?
“Are you now approving of their beliefs? By saying that you are approving of it …
“If a person were to commit every major sin — committing adultery, dealing with interest, lying, murder. If if a person were to do all of those major sins, they are nothing compared to the sin of congratulating and greeting the non-Muslims on their false festivals.”
So, to this Imam, the utterance of two words out of courtesy to a friend or neighbor is a worse sin than the taking of an innocent life.
Speaking of which, he was quick to add that he was not saying Christians should be killed.
“This doesn’t mean that we treat the non-Muslims in a bad way or that we deal with them unjustly.
“I’m not saying, and I’ve never said, ‘Go out and just kill them, and do this to them …’ No!
“Because Allah tells us not to allow the enmity that may exist between you and a people to cause you to be unjust towards them. Rather, be just.”
For many people, whether they are Christian or not, or celebrate the holiday or not, Christmas is a special time of year that is all about kindness and getting along with one another. The fact that a simple phrase, uttered in kindness to another is now being cast as a crime literally worse than murder seems to be yet one more attack on something that, at its heart, is about bringing people together.
It seems to be adding to divisiveness and “otherness.” It may seem like yet one more attack against Christianity, as a whole.
The message, in its entirety, sheds a negative light on Christians and pushes a sense of guilt onto Muslims who just want to live in peace with them. In a time when radicalization is a problem, this cannot be seen as helping things.
And that is problematic, particularly given the source. In an updated report from 2005, The (Toronto) Globe and Mail wrote that Imam Zijad Delic, the spiritual leader of a mosque in Richmond, British Columbia, had publicaly denounced the South African-born Sheik Younus Kathrada following Kathrada making racial slurs against Jews. That led to a hate crimes investigation, the Globe and Mail reported.
At the time, Delic said that Kathrada did not speak for most Muslims, but only himself.
Kathrada denied Delic’s accusations, claiming his statements, some of which were posted online, were taken out of context.
But his latest statement was captured on video. So while some may take it out of context, the video is there for all to see for themselves exactly what he said.
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