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Religious unity at Easter

The traditional Easter parade through the streets of Ramallah took place on Saturday despite unusual heavy storms which at once stage threatened to prevent the march reaching the city centre. The parade has been held for many decades and as usual drew large crowds to the streets.

In Ramallah, Easter is celebrated with public events according to the Orthodox calender whereas Christmas is marked according to the Catholic calender. This practice is respected by both major Christian communities in the city and was begun as a way to ensure major Christian festivals could be celebrated publicly by both denominations collectively.

Although a Christian festival, both Christian and Muslim scout troupes participate in the Easter parade. Similarly, the Islamic Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr festivals are marked with large public parades which are joined by both religions.

The realities of Palestinian religious acceptance are a long way from the standard Zionist propaganda claims of the persecution of Christians by a fundamental Islamic society. Religious rights are widely respected and observed and the struggle of Palestinians remains a collective one against Israeli settler-colonialism.

This situation was articulately addressed by Archbishop Attalah Hanna from the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem earlier this year, when he told Russia Today:

"The Palestinian issue is a problem that concerns all of us, Christians and Muslims alike… We don't divide the Palestinian people based on who is Christian and who is Muslim, who is religious and who isn't, who is left or what party they are a member of… all Palestinians actively support the idea that the Palestinian people should be able to exercise their rights and achieve their dream."

Images by MEMO Photographer Rich Wiles.

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