Nazareth's Muslim Mayor Cancels Christmas

NAZARETH’S CHURCH of the Annunciation

The city's Christmas celebrations bring many tourists to the city, which is mainly inhabited by Israeli Arabs, two-thirds of whom are Muslim and the rest Christian.

President Donald Trump may not know how to celebrate Christmas - but he certainly knows how to ruin it for others. Still, Nazareth is an important point on the Christian Christmas pilgrimage.

While it was originally reported on Thursday that Nazareth mayor Ali Salam would protest the US' recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by cancelling Christmas celebrations, this policy was later clarified to explain that only "artistic performances on stages" would be eliminated.

The Israeli Arab city is traditionally thought to be where Jesus grew up, with the Basilica of the Annunciation in central Nazareth built on a site which many Christian faithful believe was the childhood home of Jesus' mother, Mary. Almost 70 percent are Muslim and about 30 percent are Christian. The move has also upset the country's Arab allies, especially when Trump said the United Sates Embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as well.

After the contentious move, Nazareth Mayor Ali Salam, who found the decision offensive, announced numerous Christmas festivities will be canceled in protest.

"We are part of one single people", he continued, declaring that the US' decision on Jerusalem had taken "all the joy" from the holiday period.

The decision by Mayor Ali Salam to cancel festivities was made in protest of Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move the Muslim mayor, who once compared himself to Trump, found offensive.

"We have chose to cancel the traditional Christmas singing and dancing because we are in a time of dispute, because of what Trump has said about Jerusalem", added city spokesperson Salem Sharara.

A festival and Christmas market are among the events that will not be held.

Reuters pointed out that the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born, also briefly switched off its Christmas lights last week in protest.

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