Muslims erect “ALLAH HAS NO SON” banner right in front of the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.
Nazareth, Israel (CNSNews.com) – As Nazareth’s Christians prepare to celebrate Christmas, they are playing down the appearance of a confrontational Islamic banner that challenges an elemental Christian belief.
Journalists visiting the city saw two large banners–one in English, one in Arabic–hanging in the plaza in front of the Basilica of the Annunciation, with a verse from the Koran (112:1-4) contradicting the New Testament proclamation that Jesus is the “only begotten” of God.
“In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful, Say (O Muhammad): He is Allah, (the) One and Only. Allah, the Eternal, the Absolute. He begetteth not, nor was begotten, and there is none like unto him,” the banner reads.
Nazareth Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy played down concerns that a banner effectively denying Jesus’ deity was provocative to Christians, although he did question its position, in front of Nazareth’s most prominent landmark. “I don’t think that it’s provocative against anyone,” he said. “My point of view [is] that it’s not the right place to put it and it’s not the right way to do that.”
But Jaraisy said he would not remove the banner because some Islamic fundamentalist groups were looking to provoke a confrontation in order to promote their cause. He did not want to provide them with that opportunity.
Situated in northern Israel, Nazareth is the largest Arab city in Israel. It also has one of the highest concentrations of Christians here.The Basilica was built over a small grotto which, according to Catholic tradition, marks the remains of Mary’s house.
Another Koranic verse, 4:171, declares in part: “Allah is only one God; far be it from his glory that he should have a son.”
A decade ago there was trouble in the city after the municipality decided to demolish a school in front of the Basilica and build a large plaza to accommodate Christian pilgrims visiting Nazareth. But Muslims, inspired by fundamentalists, erected a large protest tent, saying that an Islamic sage had once been buried there.
Removing the banner would would present a “serious political problem,” he said. Legally, the municipality should take it down but would not dare do so because it could provoke clashes between adherents of the two faiths. The state could order its removal for security reasons, however, he said. He wondered why the authorities had not done so.
Abunassar said the best way to deal with the situation would be to simply ignore the provocations of the extremists and build relations with moderate Muslims. (That’ll work until they start slitting Christian throats) CNS NEWS