Christmas in Bethlehem: Cross banished to appease Islam

| Monday, December 27, 2010 | |
by Howard Portnoy

Never mind dreaming of a White Christmas. This Christmas, tourists and pilgrims to the Holy Land will need to keep their piety under wraps. AsiaNews reports that in Bethlehem, the city of Jesus’ birth, the Cross has been banned for fear of stirring up unrest among followers of Islam (aka, the religion of peace).

Some textile workshops in Jerusalem and Hebron have begun to print and sell T-shirts depicting the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem without the cross. Because of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the Palestinian territories, the cross was also removed from T-shirts of football teams.

Samir Qumsieh, director of the Catholic television station Al-Mahed Nativity TV in Bethlehem, is reported as having said, "I want to launch a campaign to urge people not to buy these products,” adding “removal of the cross is an intimidation against Christians, it is like saying that Jesus was never crucified.”



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