The Christians not only outnumber the followers of other religions, they are also most generous when it comes to giving to humanity in various fields. We thank them on this festive occasion as brothers who share love and humanity with us.
The objective of writing this is similar to the effect of the water drops falling slowly on a solid surface. Any impact, negative or positive, usually takes time and this is what came to my mind when I read the congratulatory advertisement on the occasion of the glorious Christmas that all the Kuwaiti newspapers published free, except one. This is considered the first precedent in the history of Arabic journalism, and mirrors Kuwait’s humanity.
This advertisement was preceded by many attempts to break the cycle of hatred, resist the wave of hostility towards non-Muslims, reject a fatwa that forbids congratulating Christians on their holidays and peacefully oppose it. The followers of other religions around us are neighbors, colleagues and friends, and congratulating them on their festive occasions is not only desirable and favorable tolerance but also a duty and does not constitute a denial of the creed nor imitating them.
I wish we would imitate and do like them and provide humanity with the wonderful inventions, medications, science of medicine and incomparable artistic and intellectual and literary wealth.
Of course, this recent congratulatory advertisement was not the first of its kind but it was preceded by many beautiful attempts. The first was on Dec 26, 2001, almost 18 years ago when I, in agreement with late Khalid Al-Shayea, Najib Al-Humaidhi, Adel Al-Issa, Mustafa Bouhamed, Lulwa Al-Mulla, Yousef Al-Jassim, Hisham Al-Sultan and Salah Al-Hashim published an advertisement that cost us 2,000 dinars on the last page of Al-Qabas newspaper.
It was considered a courageous step and an unprecedented initiative in an atmosphere that was strict in the face of such acts. What I would like to say here is that the initiative I made with my pen and tongue more than a quarter of a century ago is not in vain, and Kuwait is striving now to be the capital of humanitarian action and the pioneer in the rapprochement between religions, sects, peoples and cultures. The unprecedented initiative in the Kuwaiti newspapers’ contribution to the publication of a free advertisement, for the first time in the region’s press did not come out of vacuum.
It must be seen as a clear declaration that a new stage has begun, and the fundamentalists and opponents of the rapprochement of peoples, cultures and followers of religions should respond or keep away from such peaceful attempts.
There is no room or space for unjustified fundamentalism neither for undesirable exaggeration. The matter has nothing to do with imitating the infidels, nor rejection of the doctrine or history, but merely a pursuit of love, brotherhood, and coexistence in peace with the others, whoever it may be.
Those who have fear that their faith will be negatively affected by just congratulating others must review and reconsider their positions, the defects are in them. We avail ourselves of the opportunity of the New Year and extend all our sincere congratulations and good wishes for a year less fanatic and more peaceful.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf