Gaza Muslims make gifts for Christians in Gaza
Gaza Muslims make gifts for Christians in Gaza
Photo: Reuters
Muslim women make gifts for Christians in Gaza

Muslim women spread Christmas cheer in Gaza

'Our prophet encouraged us to respect all religions and we like to join with them in celebrating their day,' says designer of project that gives local women training in carpentry and tailoring, and allows them to leave their homes to work

Reuters |
Published: 12.30.19 , 17:17
Muslim women in the Gaza Strip have been hand-crafting gifts for the approaching Orthodox Christmas as part of a project to empower a traditional community.
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  • Their Santa Claus dolls, toy Christmas trees, and red-and-white puppets come into high demand over the holiday season in Gaza, Bethlehem, and Italy.
    Gaza Muslims make gifts for Christians in Gaza Gaza Muslims make gifts for Christians in Gaza
    Muslim women make gifts for Christians in Gaza
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Though most of Gaza's 2 million population are Muslim, around 1,000 are Christian, mostly Greek Orthodox, who celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.
    "Our prophet encouraged us to respect all religions and we like to join with them in celebrating their day," said the group's product designer Laila Tayeh.
    Gaza traditional crafts fairGaza traditional crafts fair
    A Gaza traditional crafts fair
    (Photo: AFP)
    Tayeh and colleagues are part of the Zaina Cooperative Association, working in a Gaza community that often restricts women's movement outside the home.
    Haneen Alsammak, the association's executive manager, said the project had given women training in carpentry and tailoring and enabled them to leave their homes to work and spread some Christmas cheer.
    "This is a message of love towards Christians inside and outside Gaza," she said.
    2020 Henneh tattoo at Gaza traditional crafts exhibit2020 Henneh tattoo at Gaza traditional crafts exhibit
    A girl receives a '2020' henna tattoo at a Gaza traditional crafts exhibit
    (Photo: AFP)
    Gaza is run by the Islamist Hamas movement, which is designated a terrorist group by the West and neighboring Israel against which it has fought three wars in the past decade.
    Citing security reasons, Israel restricts movement in and out of Gaza and maintains a naval blockade of the coastal strip where the economy suffers from high unemployment and poverty.
    In 2018, only 26% of Gaza women participated in the workforce, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

    First published: 17:17 , 12.30.19
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