For The First Time, Christians And Muslims To Celebrate The Annunciation Together In Amman

Amman (AsiaNews) – This year, Jordan will hold its first interreligious celebration on the feast day of the Annunciation of Mary. On Wednesday, 28 March, government and civil authorities, Muslim religious leaders, Christian bishops and ordinary believers from both faiths will gather in a large hall in the capital to mark the occasion.

The event will serve to highlight "the importance of Mary in the Qurʾān, and the value of the narrative of the Annunciation in the Gospel of Luke,” noted Mgr William H. Shomali, patriarchal vicar of the Latin Patriarchate in Amman.

In doing so, “We want to show the shared points between Christians and Muslims, concerning the event of the Annunciation, in which even Muslims believe.”

For the past 12 years, the

feast day of the Annunciation on 25 March has been a national holiday in Lebanon, a day off for everyone and an important moment for dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

The event is part of the "theological, religious and spiritual dialogue" between Christians and Muslims, explained the prelate. It comes on top of “the existential dialogue of everyday life".

Speaking before the General Assembly of the United Nations in September 2016, King Abdullah II stressed the importance of Jesus and Mary in the Qurʾān, whose names are cited 25 and 35 times respectively.

Mary is "the 'best of all women in creation' [. . .] And there is a chapter in the Qur’an called ‘Maryam’. The khawarij deliberately hide these truths about Islam in order to drive Muslims and non-Muslims apart. We cannot allow this to happen.”

Announcing the event in the online newspaper Abouna, Fr Rifat Bader noted that the Jordanian king made Christmas a national holiday in 2000. "Now we ask to celebrate the feast of the Annunciation, so that its religious meaning can serve an incentive to enrich our national unity and social cohesion."

* Also known as Kharijites, the Khawarij were Muslim extremists who broke away from mainstream Islam.

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