GAZA CITY: Christians in Palestine have been taking part in Ramadan initiatives to mark the Muslim holy month of fasting.
Aid projects, help with street and market decorations, and the distribution of water and dates before iftar, are among the activities they have been involved with in Bethlehem, Ramallah, and Nablus in the West Bank.
Khalil Kawa, a 41-year-old Christian, has been handing out dates and drinking water to passersby at a road junction in Nablus, a city where Muslims, Christians, and Samaritans live side-by-side.
He said: “I do not feel that I am doing something strange being a Christian and distributing dates and water to those who are fasting. I do not like to distinguish between a Muslim, a Christian, or a Samaritan. We are all Palestinians.
“In 2013, a group of my friends and I founded a youth group that we called the Nablus Tour. We are a group of photographers. We wander around the city of Nablus and take pictures, distribute sweets on the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, and decorate the city in the runup to the blessed month of Ramadan and during Eid as well. In addition, we distribute dates and water to the late fasting people.
I do not feel that I am doing something strange being a Christian and distributing dates and water to those who are fasting. I do not like to distinguish between a Muslim, a Christian, or a Samaritan. We are all Palestinians.
Khalil Kawa, Resident of Palestine
“It is a very beautiful feeling that cannot be described, especially since people are waiting for us and ask before Ramadan if we are ready or need anything,” he added.
Kawa pointed out that initially the project was funded by him and his colleagues but as the group became known it often found itself with plentiful funds and supplies thanks to contributions.
In Ramallah, a group of young people launched a Ramadan awareness campaign titled, “Forgive and shake hands in the month of love,” aimed at spreading positive messages among communities.
In the predominantly Christian city of Bethlehem, in the south of the West Bank, members of the Salesian scouts and guides group have been distributing yogurt, water, and dates.
One of the scouts, Fouad Salman, said: “The residents of Bethlehem, Muslims and Christians, inherit love and coexistence from generation to generation, and the march of love must continue.”
The 37-year-old added that he felt proud of belonging to Palestine and Bethlehem and had taken part in voluntary work since being a child, including renewing carpets in mosques.