Muslim Mayor of Nazareth Backtracks After Canceling Christmas Over Trump Jerusalem Announcement

Muslim Mayor of Nazareth Backtracks After Canceling Christmas Over Trump Jerusalem Announcement

The Mayor of the Israeli city of Nazareth, Ali Salam, has announced the cancellation of all planned Christmas events, festivals and celebrations in protest against US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's new capital and to relocate the US embassy to the Holy City.

"Our identity and faith aren't up for debate", Ali Salam, the Muslim mayor of Nazareth, said on Thursday.

City spokesman Salem Sharara said: "We have chose to cancel the traditional Christmas singing and dancing because we are in a time of dispute, because of what Trump has said about Jerusalem". During the holiday season, the city hosts a Christmas market among a number of other celebrations that attract large crowds from around the world.

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Reuters reports that Nazareth isn't the only town to protest the move; within an hour of the announcement, the Palestinian towns of Bethlehem, Jesus's traditional birthplace, and Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank briefly switched off their Christmas lights in protest. The imposing Basilica of the Annunciation in central Nazareth is built on a site which many Christian faithful believe was the childhood home of Jesus's mother, Mary.

There have been widespread protests across the world in condemnation of Trump's decision with only Israel and the U.S. supporting his plan.

"I$3 invite all the residents of the State of Israel - the Jews, Muslims and Christians - to come to the city of Nazareth and take part in the Christmas celebrations", said Salam.

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The announcement to move the USA embassy to Jerusalem was, meanwhile, hailed by other groups, including 250 prominent Israeli rabbis who issued Trump the biblical blessing that God gave to Joshua.

The town announced it will cut back on its Christmas festivities, claiming Donald Trump has leached all the joy out of the holiday after his Jerusalem decision.

Pope Francis also voiced opposition to the move, saying he could not remain silent. Muslims oppose the move as they see East Jerusalem as a future capital for Palestine.

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But the break will be short-lived, as another, more potent system pulls into the Great Lakes region overnight Monday into Tuesday. Weather officials say several winter weather advisories , including for the Detroit area, won't expire until early Tuesday.

Since Trump's controversial announcement last week, at least 12 rockets or mortars have been fired from Gaza towards Israel.

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