Mosque sparks outrage with ‘fatwa’ Facebook post warning Muslims it is a ‘sin’ to celebrate Christmas

Australia’s biggest mosque has sparked outrage with a ‘fatwa’ post on its Facebook page warning Muslims it is a ‘sin’ to wish people a merry Christmas.

The message has been removed from the Lakemba Mosque page of the social networking website after being condemned by Muslim leaders.

It followed a controversial lecture at the Sydney mosque at Friday prayer, when head imam Sheikh Yahya Safi reportedly told worshipers not to have anything to do with Christmas.

Outrage: A post on Lakemba Mosque's Facebook page warned celebrating Christmas was a sinOutrage: A post on Lakemba Mosque’s Facebook page warned celebrating Christmas was a sin

Officials at the mosque said the online post was put up by a youth worker who had copied the text of a fatwa – a religious ruling – from another Islamic website.

It read: ‘Many times Allaah has mentioned the details of the birth of ‘Eesaa (Jesus) in the Qur’an but He did not mention any celebration to be done on their occasion.

‘Therefore a Muslim is neither allowed to celebrate the Christmas Day nor is he allowed to congratulate them.’.

It described Christmas Day as a ‘falsehood that Muslims should avoid’ and warned that ‘disbelievers’ were trying to draw Muslims away from the ‘straight path’.

The Lebanese Muslim Association, which manages the mosque, said the message did not represent the views of the organisation.

Muslim leader, the Grand Mufti of Australia, Ibrahim Abu Mohammad, stressed the foundations of Islam are peace, co-operation, respect and holding others in esteem.

'Fatwa': Part of the post removed from the Lakemba Mosque Facebook page‘Fatwa’: Part of the post removed from the Lakemba Mosque Facebook page

He told The Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Anyone who says otherwise is speaking irresponsibly. There is difference between showing respect for someone’s belief and sharing those beliefs.

‘We are required to have good relations with all people, and to congratulate them on their joyous events is very important.’

Community leader Dr Jamal Rifi, who joined priests at a Christmas celebration in the capital last night, said: ‘We can share the festivities with friends and families and neighbours – I don’t think there is any civil, religious or ethical reason not to.’

Muslim convert Rebecca Kay added: ‘It’s sad to see the Lebanese Muslim Association, which considers itself the peak body representing Australian Muslims, with comments like these. It goes to show how far they are from representing the community.’
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