In the age of Trump, a Muslim’s Christmas Message

In the age of Trump, a Muslim’s Christmas Message
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Not long ago, President Trump retweeted anti-Islam propaganda videos from a far right British hate group - Britain First - to millions of his followers. The videos were meant to promote fear of Muslims around the world. One particular video titled “Muslim destroys a statue of Virgin Mary,” which originally surfaced in 2013, shows a bearded Arab-looking man demolishing a Mother Mary statue. The implication: Muslims hate Christians & disrespect the most sacred figures in Christianity. The aim: to further the false notion of Islam being at war with “Christian values.” Twitter has since suspended the accounts of Britain First’s top two officials.

When the President of a world super power makes the conscious choice to spend his time lambasting a religious community and creating a rift between the world’s two largest faiths, it becomes imperative for the rest of us to actively counter the vitriol and assert the values of interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence.

And what better time than today. Millions around the world are celebrating Christmas, one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.

<p>Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Salisbury, England.</p>

Salisbury Cathedral, formally known as the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in Salisbury, England.

BBC Wiltshire

And unlike what the President will have you believe, millions of Muslim Americans are also sharing in the joy and celebration of their Christian friends and neighbors. This interfaith harmony between Islam and Christianity is not a new phenomenon. It was exemplified by the founder of Islam himself.

When Prophet Muhammad received his first revelation in Mecca in around 610 AD, one of the first persons he trusted to disclose and discuss his experience with was his wife’s cousin Waraqa Bin Nawfal. Waraqa was a Christian scholar. On learning about Prophet Muhammad’s encounter with Gabriel, he acknowledged Prophet Muhammad’s divine mission and foretold that he would - like other prophets before him - be driven out of his city.

Waraqa was right. As soon as Prophet Muhammad announced his prophetic mission of reform, opposition started to mount.

When the persecution got out of hand in Mecca, Prophet Muhammad asked his followers to migrate to Abyssinia, where the righteous Christian King Negus “would not tolerate any injustice,” he said. When the Muslims were presented before the king, he asked them about their beliefs in general, but particularly about Jesus Christ. The leader of the Muslim delegation recited a chapter from the Quran. The king started weeping, then turned to the Meccan emissary who had come to ask for the Muslims to be handed over, and said,

“Verily, this (Quran) and what Jesus brought has come from the same source of light... You may go, for by God I will not deliver them unto you; they shall not be betrayed.”

He thus allowed the Muslims to live in his kingdom with complete freedom.

After a few years, Prophet Muhammad migrated to Medina and was anointed the head of state. Many Christian delegations would come to visit him at his mosque. He was very welcoming of them. When one such envoy asked him for a place to pray, he did not send them out into the open. Instead, he presented his own mosque for them to pray, saying,

“Conduct your service here in the mosque. It is a place consecrated to God.”

In the Charter of Medina, he guaranteed equal rights and freedoms to Christians and Jews. He also promised protection to a number of Christian monasteries. In one such covenant, he commanded Muslims to ensure the religious liberties of Christians for all times to come. He said:

“Christians are my citizens, and by God, I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. No one of the Muslims is to disobey this covenant till the Last Day.”

The vast majority of Muslims world over hold this covenant very dear. Unfortunately, there are those in the ‘Muslim world’ who break it by persecuting Christians, preventing them from building Churches, or attacking these places of worship. These people rebel against the example of Prophet Muhammad, and the clear teachings of the Quran, which clearly instruct Muslims to protect Churches and Synagogues (22:41) and uphold freedom of religion.

President Trump would have the world believe Muslims hate the holiest personalities of Christianity. Don’t fall for the propaganda. Know well that the Muslim belief is incomplete without belief in the truth of Jesus Christ and the righteousness of Mother Mary.

Consider this: While Prophet Muhammad is mentioned only 4 times by name in the Quran, Jesus Christ is mentioned 25 times. While Mother Mary is mentioned 17 times in the whole of the New Testament, she appears 34 times in the Quran. And while no chapter or book title bears her name in the New testament, one whole chapter (Surah Maryam) in the Muslim Holy Book is named after her.

It should not come as a surprise therefore that millions of Muslims are reaching out and wishing their Christian friends a Merry Christmas today.

Fellow Christian friends, as Muslims share your joy this day, we hope you accept our heart-felt warm wishes and prayers and stay united with us against all attempts to divide us. Merry Christmas America!

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