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Christmas message

I would like to wish all Christian Malaysians a Merry Christmas.

The celebration of Christmas by our entire country is a sign that Malaysia’s acceptance of diversity is as strong as ever.

It is something we must all cherish and defend against the voices of extremism.

Indeed, Malaysians—whatever their religion or ethnicity—are no strangers to the Christmas practices of giving and togetherness with loved ones.

However, we should not forget that Christmas this year is also a time of privation and hardship for many in the world. This is unfortunately the case for Christians and their neighbours in the Middle East—particularly in Iraq and Syria—due to the sectarian conflict there. Similarly Palestinian Muslims and Christians continue to be victims of the Zionist regime in Israel.

We hope that the international community will not forget them in their hour of need and that Christmas as well as the coming New Year will bring lasting peace in that troubled region, which is the cradle of the Abrahamic faiths of the world.

For over a millenia of Islamic rule, the Christians have been able to flourish side by side their Muslim and Jewish neighbours in the region as the People of the Book.

Closer to home, many of our fellow Malaysians have suffered from the terrible floods and weather.

Again, I want to wish Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.