As Christmas trees were being lit up around the Gaza strip, an official document issued by the Hamas-controlled Gaza government's ministry of religious affairs drew strong anger amongst social media commentators, for sending recommendations to a number of officials hoping to "limit" Christmas celebrations in Gaza.
صدر البارحة منشور عن وزارة أوقاف حماس في قطاع غزة بخصوص أعياد الكريسماس وتحريمها! طبعاً عبارة عن منشور عبثي للغاية ويضرب النسيج الاجتماعي الفلسطيني والذي لا يوجد فيه فرق بين مسيحي أو مسلم!! قمة التخلف، وجب أن تخرج حركة حماس وتعتذر للأخوة المسيحين عن منشور وزارة الاوقاف في غزة!— Kareem Jouda (@kareem_jouda) December 19, 2020
Translation: "A document issued by Hamas' ministry of religious affairs yesterday over banning Christmas celebrations. It's totally absurd and aims to harm the social cohesion amongst Muslim and Christian Palestinians. It's a huge failure, which Hamas should apologize to our fellow Christians for."
According to the document issued on the 15th of December, several officials have been offered a number of different recommendations that aim to "limit" Christmas celebrations in the Gaza Strip.
Following the online controversy, the Gaza government issued a clarification saying the document "is issued annually and only targets celebrations by the Muslim population," which didn't help in calming the public outrage.
Social media users rejected government clarification, saying that no government should control individuals' choices, adding that celebrating the Nazareth-son Jesus should be allowed for everyone, including Muslims for whom he is a holy figure too.
Translation: "How sad! Of all people, we are the ones who should celebrate the Palestinian Jesus. Why can't we celebrate our own son?"
Others expressed disappointment over the divisive language in the document, saying that most Palestinians are used to celebrating the holiday season regardless of their religion.
In the blockaded #Gaza Strip, the #Christmas season is giving a boost to a small women’s business that produces #pandemic face masks decorated with holiday symbols https://t.co/hd6wBIZIqS pic.twitter.com/59cbY6mhWG— Arab News Pakistan (@arabnewspk) December 15, 2020
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