London, December 27, 2011
Merry Christmas to all our Christian brothers in the whole world, especially, those in the Gaza Strip.
I really got angry with the guardian report which shows that Christians in the Gaza Strip were obliged not to celebrate Christmas and were also prevented of making their Christmas tree and ornamented it.
I am not here to defend the Gaza Government, but to defend the ethics and values of the Gaza residents who will not bear oppression or marginalization against their Christian brothers. Muslims and Christians have long lived together for centuries.
To reply on the guardian’s report, I am just to remind the writer that the Gaza Government issued a three-day holiday for the only 1,400 Christians along the whole Gaza Strip. The three days are December 26, January 1, and January 7, from each year.
When the Islamist swept the secularist out of the Gaza Strip in 2007, my editor commissioned me to write a feature about the life of Christians in Gaza. I did my best to navigate the hidden sides of them order to know whether there is something unknown for people or not, but I did not find.
I attended the Christmas meeting at the Latin Church in the centre of Gaza and met the head of Gaza’s Roman Catholic community, Monsignor Manuel Musallam, who told me: “We feel absolute freedom under the rule of Hamas. I have never received any complaint against them from Christians in Gaza at all.”
I met then Dr Attalah Tarazi, a famous physician in Gaza, and asked him about any kind of harassment against them from the Gaza Government or civilians. Mr Attalah said: “We have no problems because of Hamas. We feel the brotherhood and religious tolerance here in Gaza”
I also interviewed Simon, a 28-year-old gold trader, who said: “I haven’t felt any kind of annoyance or aggression from Muslims at all. I have never heard an insult or a word of indignity.”
Basem Aayyad, a Christian salesman who was unable to get his money from a Muslim civilian, told me: “Hamas attorney general returned me my lost right.”
This is how Christians live in Gaza. Even more, they feel there is no differences between Muslims and Christians in Gaza as all of them have the same land face the same hardships of life.
Both of them looks for the same future and have the same hopes; to end the Israeli occupation and live in peace.