Bethlehem: Christians in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, joined the city’s Muslim residents in fasting Ramadan in continuation of a centuries-old tradition of interfaith solidarity.
Mike Kanawati, a Christian resident of Bethlehem, who manages a souvenir and jewelry shop, fasts the days of Ramadan with his Muslim neighbors.
“My grandmother used to fast, both Christian and Muslim fasting, and we were raised this way to show respect for and solidarity with other religions,” Kanawati said.
“Fasting, either the Christian or the Muslim way, makes one feel the suffering of those who do not have food,” he added. Kanawati said he was proud “like many other Christians” of fasting the Muslim month of Ramadan and stressed that doing so in no way diminished his Christian faith.
He revealed that some of his Muslim friends in turn perform the Christian fasting, such as abstaining from eating cheese, meat and milk, in demonstration of solidarity with the Christians.
The tradition, Kanawati stressed, was preserved over generations of Muslims and Christians who coexisted in Bethlehem for hundreds of years.
Bethlehem has a Muslim majority, but is also home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities.
In a survey of Bethlehem’s Christians conducted in 2006 by the Palestinian Center for Research and Cultural Dialogue, 90% reported having Muslim friends, 73.3% said that the Palestinian Authority respects Christian heritage in the city, and 78% reported that the emigration of Christians from Bethlehem was due to the Israeli travel restriction in the area. (www.saudigazette.com)
Bethlehem Christians fast Ramadan with Muslims
AUTHOR: Islamic Voice
Islamic Voice is a monthly Islamic magazine published in Bangalore. It is the largest English language Muslim publication in India. It is a comprehensive magazine, places a relatively high emphasis on social issues and strives to have a broad appeal. Since 1987, Islamic Voice has covered its fascinating namesake without fear or favour, with insight, accuracy, thoroughness and a well rounded perspective on a variety of subjects - be it the economy, politics, lifestyle, the arts, entertainment, travel, science, technology or health. That's why Islamic Voice is the country's most widely read publication, a position it has held for more than a decade. And that's why it makes sense to subscribe to Islamic Voice. We represents all Muslim sects and shades of thought from all over India. We focus on "our" triumphs which, mostly, go unreported as well as constructively addresses our failures and shortcomings. Editor-in-Chief: A.W. Sadatullah Khan Genre: Current Affairs associated with Muslims Subjects Covered: Human Rights I Analysis I Special Reports I Issues I Book Reviews I National I International I Newsmakers I Community News I Islamic Perspectives I Classifieds I Opinions Focus articles on: Education and Children I Inter-faith Relations I Matrimony I Muslim economy I Muslim Perspective I The Muslim world I Society I Travel I The Western viewpoint I Women in Islam Special focus on Faith and Law: Fiqh I Hadith I Quran