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December 25, 2018 10:28 am

Wishing Christians ‘Merry Christmas’ Is ‘Worse Than Murder,’ Canadian Islamist Cleric Declares

avatar by Ben Cohen

Sheikh Younus Kathrada. Photo: MEMRI screenshot.

As Christians around the world celebrate Christmas, footage has emerged of an Islamist cleric in Canada telling an assembly of Muslim young people in British Columbia that “major sins” like “murder” and “adultery” were “nothing compared to the sin of congratulating and greeting the non-Muslims on their false festivals.”

In remarks exposed on Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Sheikh Younus Kathrada remarked that, “[N]owadays, of course, we are close to Christmas.”

Kathrada added that “with great sadness, we see that amongst us there are those who think it’s a small matter, and so, not only might we congratulate them on their Christmas, on their false holiday and celebration, but we may take part in their holiday as well.”

The sheikh’s comments came in the wake of a stark warning at the start of this month from the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, that Christians in the Middle East were on “the brink of extinction.” Writing in the British newspaper The Telegraph on Dec. 1, Welby said that the region’s Christians were confronting on a daily basis “the threat of violence, murder, intimidation, prejudice and poverty.”

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In his sermon delivered in Victoria, BC, Sheikh Kathrada declared: “Do you know that you and I must be offended when people say that they worship Jesus, or when they say that Jesus is the son of God? Why do our hearts not react?”

Said Kathrada: “If a person were to commit every major sin — committing adultery, dealing with interest, lying, murder … If a person were to do all of those major sins, they are nothing compared to the sin of congratulating and greeting the non-Muslims on their false festivals.”

At the same time, Kathrada emphasized that he was not advocating violence against non-Muslims, despite considering them as the “enemy.”

“I’m not saying, and I’ve never said, go out and just kill them, and do this to them: No!” Kathrada said. “Because Allah tells us not to allow the enmity that may exist between you and a people to cause you to be unjust towards them. Rather, be just.”

According to MEMRI, the South African-born Kathrada is affiliated with the Vancouver-based Al Madinah Islamic Society. The society’s website describes itself as a religious educational organization, whose goals are to “familiarize Muslims with reliable and authentic sources of Islamic knowledge, and to link Muslims up with Muslim scholars throughout the world.”

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