An imam in British Columbia had a message for his congregants about Christmas: a Muslim saying “Merry Christmas” is committing a crime worse than murder.
Speaking at the Muslim Youth of Victoria, Sheikh Younus Kathrada said a Muslim who said “Merry Christmas” was committing a sin graver than adultery, dealing with interest, lying, and murder combined, and that Muslims “must be offended” by Christians’ beliefs.
The imam stated:
Nowadays, of course, we are close to Christians. We see around us that people are preparing themselves to celebrate Christmas, and 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. …
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? …
There are those who will say to them “Merry Christmas.” What are you congratulating them on? Congratulations on the birth of your Lord? Is that acceptable to a Muslim? Are you now approving of their beliefs? By saying that you are approving of it …
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.
This doesn’t mean that we treat the non-Muslims in a bad way or that we deal with them unjustly. I’m not saying, and I’ve never said, “Go out and just kill them, and do this to them… No! 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.
In 2005, Kathrada, who was associated with the Dar al-Madinah Islamic Society, was investigated for an alleged hate crime. The Globe and Mail reported:
In sermons posted on the Internet, he referred to Jews as "the brothers of the monkeys and the swine." He said the Prophet tells them, "Oh Muslim, Oh slave of Allah, that verily behind me is a Jew. Then come and kill him." Islamic scripture predicted an apocalyptic battle with the Jews, he said. "Unfortunately we hear too many people saying we must build bridges with them. No. They understand one language. It is the language of the sword, and it is the only language they understand."
In another lecture, Mr. Kathrada said Islam endorses offensive jihad, or holy war, to convert non-believers. "It is in order to establish security on this earth," he said. "It is so that the word of Allah will be the superior word." All Muslims should desire to become martyrs if the opportunity arises, he said. "For one of you to be in the front row of the Muslims . . . with the mujahedeenis better than him standing in prayer for 60 years. It is inconceivable that a true believer will not desire martyrdom."