Tunisia: Fatwa Against Christmas, New Year’s Sparks Outrage


By Houda Trabelsi

Tunisian imam Bechir Ben Hassen recently said that greeting “infidels” on the birth of Christ is prohibited.

“Wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year is forbidden by Islam,” AFP quoted the preacher as saying in a sermon posted on Facebook.

“Christians celebrate the birth of Isa (Jesus) because they consider him to be the son of God, and when Muslims celebrate this day, they would be celebrating kufr and would be recognising this corrupt belief,” the salafist said on December 26th.

AFP also quoted Ben Hassen as saying that selling items to people for the purpose of celebrating the New Year and Christmas was also forbidden.

Like many citizens Awatef Zed, denounced Ben Hassen’s teachings and called it hypocrisy.

“They wear the robe of righteousness to exercise various forms of hypocrisy and lies,” she said. “Happy New Year to all Christians, Jews and Muslims!”

Houda Touzi, a practicing Muslim, also disagrees with Ben Hassen and finds nothing wrong with such practices.

“I’m a Muslim and I do all my religious duties, including prayers and fasting, etc.,” Touzi said.

“However, I don’t miss a chance to celebrate the New Year by buying refreshments and preparing a special dinner with my family. We laugh and sing, and we never felt that this affects our Islam or that we’ll go to hell for that. Our Islam is much more refined than this nonsense and these aggressive fatwas,” she added.

Mohamed Ben Abdelkader told Magharebia, “Unfortunately, the likes of this ignorant Wahhabi are many.” He added that the extremist imam ignores the Qur’an, which reads: “Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last day and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve,” (al-Baqara, 62).

“He doesn’t know the difference between Muslims and believers,” Abdelkader added. “How then can he know anything else? The problem is in the pulpits that allow for such hateful sayings.”

“I encourage people to stand up against those who sow divisions and ignorance, I mean those Islamists who at this time every year sow hatred and discord among humans, either because of a disease in their minds or for a certain hidden purpose,” he added.

For his part, Moustapha Milad said, “I personally don’t feel embarrassed about greeting Christians or others on Christmas. However, I do not celebrate this day because it has nothing to do with our culture, and I don’t think that Christians celebrate our own eids.”

“Celebration at the beginning of a year has a positive, symbolic meaning so that all days of the year may be happy,” Milad’s friend Marouia said.


The Magharebia web site is sponsored by the United States Africa Command, the military command responsible for supporting and enhancing US efforts to promote stability, co-operation and prosperity in the region.

One thought on “Tunisia: Fatwa Against Christmas, New Year’s Sparks Outrage

  • January 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    i cant believe ppl mock scholars in such a way just because he tells u something u dont like doesnt give u the right to belitttle him true scholars of knowledge r the inheritors of the prophet, ben hassan is correct i have lived in the us for the last 27 yrs i came when i was 5 the only culture i truly know is the american culture yet i have never celebrated christmas nor have i ever wished anyone a merry christmas, and it doesnt mean i hate them of course i hate what they believe because it is kufr. jesus wasnt even born on dec 25 and all learned christians know it so why should muslims wish them anything on a false celebration? we have two eids thats it. about the new yr, whose calendar r we following the jews christians or islamic? im 110% sure these muslims critisizing ben hassan dont even know what islamic yr we r in nor do they know when the islamic new yr is yet they r celebrating and defending the new yrs based on a false calendar may allah give guidance to these so called muslims ben ali and rcd has brainwashed them and it will take decades for them to realize their mistakes may allah forgive these ignorant muslims from insulting shcolars of our deen and open their eyes ears and heart to accepting islam completely


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