JERUSALEM – On Monday, December 5, 2016, Al-Quds University hosted a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the presence of H. B. Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem; Most Rev. Atallah Hanna, Archbishop of Sebastia in Palestine; Sheikh Abd el-Majid Amarneh, Mufti of Bethlehem and Dr. Imad Abu Kishk, the President of Al-Quds University as well as staff and students.
“Celebrating the birth of Christ is not exclusive to Christians. Christmas is a Palestinian celebration regardless of one’s religious affiliation or political association. Palestinian Christians and Muslims are one united people.” Dr. Abu Kishk said. “During this event, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, son of Palestine. We congratulate our people and we say to our Christian brothers: we share a common bond with one another; this land and the holy places, our vision and fate. We are united through Christ, who taught us to love, to forgive and to rise above pain.”
“From Jerusalem, the city of peace, we send to the world the message of Christ; a message of love, peace and forgiveness, that we Palestinians believe and witness to”, he added.
Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah said that the lighting of the tree is a symbol of the soul’s joy in the birth of Jesus and that the message of Christmas is one of love and justice. Christmas invites people to take action on the power of love in them.
Archbishop Atallah Hanna pointed out that Christmas is celebrated by all Palestinians and that through this event, we express our love and fraternal spirit.
The Mufti of Bethlehem added: “this event is a sign of religious unity” emphasizing that Al-Quds University is an example of religious and national unity.
On behalf of the Christian students who stand behind the realization of this initiative, Mr. Khader Bannoura affirmed that Palestine continues to be a great model of coexistence between Christians and Muslims in spite of the repeated attempts of the occupation to destroy it.
The ceremony was animated by many parts of the program that included poetry reading, singing and a performance by the Latin Scouts of Beit Sahour.
Source: Al-Quds University
Photos: © Media Unit at AQU