Would Muslims want to kill Mary and Baby Jesus Today?

Letters in ‘The Independent’

The Light (UK), February 2007 Issue (pp. 2–3)

On 23rd December 2006, The Independent national daily newspaper of Britain, reported on incidents in which pregnant Palestinian women in the West Bank, while suffering pains of childbirth, have been prevented from reaching hospital by checkpoints of the Israeli military.  It being close to Christmas, the newspaper raised the following hypothetical ques­tion on its front page:

“What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethlehem today”,

to give birth to Jesus? Would she have to endure the same distress as these pregnant Palestinian women?

The Independent was, of course, holding the Israeli authorities responsible for causing this brutal suffering of the innocent. However, on 26th December a bizarre letter from a reader, one Dr Denis MacEoin, was published as follows:

“Sir: Johann Hari asks: ‘What would happen if the Virgin Mary came to Bethlehem today?’ She would not last 24 hours. Hamas activists would kill her and Joseph for the crime of being Jews. If she concealed her religious identity, morality brigades would gun them down as adult­erers, or her own family would polish her off in an ‘honour’ killing for having become pregnant outside wedlock.

“If she escaped that, Muslim radicals, faithful to Koranic doctrine would put her to death as a heretic for claiming to be the Mother of God, and would execute the infant Jesus for his pretension to be the Son of God. The three Magi would be beheaded as star worshippers and the angel Gabriel sent back to heaven for re-training in Islamic theology. …”

In response the Editor of The Light, U.K. Edition, wrote the following letter to the newspaper:

“All Muslims believe Mary and Jesus to be among the most holy of religious figures that have ever appeared and accord to both of them the highest respect. Contrary to the wholly false and defamatory allegation by Dr Denis MacEoin today (26th December, Letters), it is absolutely impossible that any Muslim could even contemplate killing Mary and the baby Jesus if they really did appear. Moreover, according to the Quran and all Muslims, Mary would not claim to be the Mother of God nor would Jesus claim to be the Son of God; therefore the question cannot arise of executing them for these pretensions. Further, considering that the Quran explicitly exonerates Mary of the charge of becoming pregnant outside wed­lock, and no Muslim in the world can ever contemplate making this accusation, no ‘morality brigade’ of Muslims could possibly try to punish her.

“Dr Denis MacEoin has ignored, or possibly wishes to conceal, the fact that the man who wanted to slaughter the baby Jesus was, of course, Herod, King of the Jews. Therefore, one may plausibly claim that it would be today’s successors of Herod, i.e., the government of the state of Israel, who would be anxious to kill the baby Jesus if his birth was taking place today. Indeed, they would be only too keen to ensure that they did not fail like their predecessor Herod. And in this day and age, as in those times, Jesus, Mary and Joseph would need to seek shelter in the now Muslim country of Egypt!”

Although this letter was not published, another reader’s letter in refutation of Dr MacEoin was published from one P.J. Stewart of Oxford on 30th December. It began as follows:

“Sir: Can Dr MacEoin (letter, 26 Decem­ber) really not know that Jesus and his mother are honoured in the Koran, and that the virgin birth is attested in the Sura named in her honour? Does he truly imagine that Mary called herself the ‘Mother of God’ or that any Jewish woman could claim anything so blasphemous in the eyes of her faith?”

Thus, Dr MacEoin’s attempt to portray Muslims as those who would be bound to kill Mary and Jesus has completely backfired. Muslims regard Mary and Jesus as entirely innocent of the charges mentioned. Those who would wish to kill Mary for adultery and kill her and her son for claiming Divinity is the nation in whose support Dr MacEoin wrote his letter.