There will be no Christmas this year in the hometown of Jesus Christ.
The mayor of Nazareth has canceled holiday festivities that are a tradition in the historic Israeli town, which is home to a large number of Muslims. The mayor, Ali Salam, is himself Muslim, and he says President Donald Trump is the reason why he canceled the public recognition of the holiday.
Salam says Trump killed Christmas by recognizing Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as their capital. The United States is also beginning the process to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and Salam says that has ruined the spirit of the holidays by ticking off Muslims in the region.
Just like during the original Christmas, Jesus’ birth will not be celebrated in Nazareth this year — though this time, it’s being blamed on President Trump.
Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has caused a backlash in the region, particularly among Muslims, and the reaction’s reverberated to Nazareth, where the town’s mayor, Ali Salam, announced Thursday that all planned Christmas events would be canceled.
“Our identity and faith cannot be bargained,” Salam, a Muslim, said, according to 10 News. “[Trump’s] decision has taken away the joy of the holiday and we will cancel the festivities this year.”
Nazareth, the northern Israeli town which is home to a population made up mostly of Muslims and Christians, is scrapping all holiday plans, including a Christmas market and festival.
The annual events are a huge tourist attraction during the Christmas season. Nazareth is believed to be Jesus Christ’s childhood home, though he was born in Bethlehem. Still, Nazareth is an important point on the Christian Christmas pilgrimage.
Trump’s announcement last week reversed decades of U.S. policy and made America the only country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The city is also claimed by the Palestinian population, and Jerusalem is home to some of the most sacred sites in Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Trump has also ordered the U.S. embassy moved from Tel Aviv, though that process is likely to take years.
Trump’s announcement triggered violent protests, with terror group Hamas calling on supports to start an uprising against Israel. Two protesters have been killed in clashes with soldiers.
This video provides a look at Nazareth, including the Christmas market that so many people come to see.