United in prayer: Christians and Muslims stand against Trump

United in prayer: Christians and Muslims stand against Trump's Jerusalem move
3 min read
12 December, 2017
US President Donald Trump controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital did little to divide the city's Christian and Muslim communities.
Christians and Muslims stood united against Trump's decision [Getty]
Palestinian Christians and Muslims have stood united against US President Donald Trump controversial decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In the hours after the announcement, Palestinians protested the move by turning off the lights on the Christmas tree outside Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

The sentiments were largely echoed among Christians and Muslims on the ground, as surveyed by Reuters' Maayan Lubell.

Fredrick Hazo, a 59-year-old Palestinian musician who was coming out of a his Sunday service at the Assyrian Catholic church in Jerusalem accused Trump of “dragging all the world into trouble”, and called on the US leader to reverse his decision.

“We are united - Christians, Muslims, we are one,” he told Reuters', standing in an alley in the heart of the Old City, surrounded by shops selling religious trinkets.

Hazo said despite his frustrations toward the politics, he maintained hopeful that the three faiths would maintain balance in the holy city. 

“In this sacred place, God is protecting us all. We are guarded by his angels in Jerusalem,” Hazo added.

Christians make up around just one percent of the Palestinian population in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, though they punch above their weight in local and national politics.

Back in July, Hazo was among others who protested alongside Muslims against Israel’s installation of security scanners at the nearby al-Aqsa mosque - Islam’s third holiest site - after two Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli police officers at the site.

It removed the metal detectors after days of bloody clashes, scenes that have not been repeated in the city since Trump’s declaration.

United in prayer 

The appeals to religious unity inside Jerusalem’s walls stand in contrast to the more divided voices outside, mainly from America’s politically powerful evangelicals who see God’s hand in the modern-day return of Jews to a biblical homeland.

But Palestinian supermarket cashier Mohammed al-Hawa, slammed Trump’s words, suggesting the logic behind them ignored the more complex reality on the ground.

People of all faith in Jerusalem were united in prayer, the 33-year-old said, even if they were divided over politics.

“Christians, Jews and Muslims live in this city together. There is no problem between them. Only the politics. The governments want to make wars,” he said.

“This is my city - my blood, my life,” added a 70-year-old Palestinian, walking through the pilgrim-packed courtyard of Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered by Christians as the site of Jesus’s tomb.

The church is packed into a small parcel of land that also holds the al-Aqsa compound and Judaism’s Western Wall

“I can go to the church, to anywhere in Jerusalem, not Trump nor Netanyahu can stop me,” added the man who identified himself only as a “Jerusalemite”.