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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Intolerance 101

Today I saw a very disturbing clip that I got by email. It appears that this chain email has been going around inboxes because I received the same clip twice. The video clip showed a popular call-in show that featured Sheikh Khaled el Gendy, a supposedly moderate preacher whom I admit I liked. That changed after I heard what he said.

A young kid around 5 years old called the show and asked Sheikh Khaled a very “smart” question. “Sheikh Khaled, is celebrating Christmas Haram (forbidden)?”. Khaled’s answer popped out my eye balls.

“You shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas. Instead of receiving gifts from Baba Noel (Santa Claus, Baba Noel literally means Father Noel) you should be receiving gifts from Baba Mohammed (Father Mohammed)” Khaled said. He then went on to explain how Christmas is not in Islam and that we shouldn’t mix up stuff and copy everything the West does! The show presenter himself was shocked and told him that it is OK for Muslims to enjoy the fun of the Christmas season just as it is OK for a Christian kid to play with Ramadan lanterns. Khaled won’t buy what he said.

Now the problem is not in just what Khaled said, but in how the kid’s parents made him ask such an ignorant stupid intolerant question live on TV. Now how will this kid look upon his Christian colleague when he goes to school tomorrow? Will he still play with the kid who celebrates something Sheikh Khaled said was “Haram”?

And what if Muslims brought a Christmas tree or accepted gifts from Santa? Do Mr. Khaled think God will get angry? And if God will in fact get pissed off, can Mr. Khaled kindly tell me how can I avoid meeting this person when I leave this life?!

Well Sheikh Khaled, let me tell you this: I celebrate Ramadan and Christmas and if Jews were still in Egypt I would be celebrating Hanukah as well. I do this because I am more tolerant than you, period.

Damn, and they say this guy is moderate and modern. Damn, I really don’t know where this country is heading to.

If you can understand Arabic, you can see the clip here.

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