No merriness here: mosque puts fatwa on Christmas.

It’s worth reading the SMH (actually Sun-Herald) article to get a sense of the tawdriness of the journalism and the mutual insensitivity shown by the Sheikh and by the reporter. Why would anyone be surprised by the content of the fatwa? After all, it is simply a legal ruling that extends the Prophet’s rejection of Christian claims about the divinity of Christ stemming from the incarnation and nativity. Why should Moslems celebrate Christmas? Why should Jews celebrate Christmas? All the reaction reveals is a secular assumption that the Feast of the Birth of Christ is simply an excuse to indulge in rampant consumerism and, from the midst of the Christmas dinner, a feeling of good will towards men (and sometimes women).

It is, of course, nothing of the sort. For Christians, the object of Christmas is something quite different, something more profound. I regret the fatwa, and it shows a lack of Islamic good will, but it is hardly earth-shattering. One can only affirm another community leader:

The Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, said the foundations of Islam were peace, co-operation, respect and holding others in esteem.

“Anyone who says otherwise is speaking irresponsibly,” he said.

“There is difference between showing respect for someone’s belief and sharing those beliefs,” Dr Ibrahim said.

Dr Ibrahim said the views did not represent the majority of Muslims in Australia. “We are required to have good relations with all people, and to congratulate them on their joyous events is very important.”

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