Iran’s foreign minister tweeted an English language Christmas message, wishing ‘peace and joy’ in 2019. Christians are free to practice in the Islamic republic, but promoting conversions from Islam are illegal.
Zarif, who often sends political messages via twitter, and even argues with the US President (link), used a line from the Koran to congratulate on the holiday. He had to correct the number of the verse in the follow up tweet after followers pointed to the mistake.
The angels said, “Mary, God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honored shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God. (QURAN 3:45)
May the blessings of the birth of Jesus usher peace and joy to all in 2019.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 24, 2018
“The angels said, ‘Mary, God gives you good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honored shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God.’(QURAN 3:45) May the blessings of the birth of Jesus usher peace and joy to all in 2019,” the tweet read.
Jesus is recognized in Islam as an important prophet, but not God. Over 300,000 Christians live in Iran, mostly of Armenian and Assyrian descent, with at least 600 churches throughout the country that have been decorated for the holiday. Local media outlets posted videos of Tehran’s streets decorated for Christmas.
Christians and other religious minorities are free to practice their rituals in Iran if they do not violate the country’s laws like drinking alcohol, including wine, and trying to convert Muslims.
Celebrating Christmas can lead to serious trouble in Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Brunei. Riyadh faced ridicule online this year after it reminded the international community of its strict ban on Christmas tree imports and celebrations ahead of the holiday season, despite its much-touted liberal reforms and social changes.
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