ASIA/HOLY LAND - The new Muslim mayor: I want the Annunciation to be proclaimed a civic feast in Nazareth

Nazareth - "It is my greatest desire that the Feast of the Annunciation is proclaimed a civic official holiday for all Nazareth". This is what the new mayor of Nazareth, the Muslim Ali Sallam said in a recent meeting with some representatives of religious communities in the city who had come to congratulate him in the seat of the municipality at the beginning of his political mandate. At the meeting - which was held on Monday, March 17 - the Catholic Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, Patriarchal Vicar for Israel of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem of the Latins was also present.
According to official sources of the Latin Patriarchate, mayor Sallam made explicit reference to Lebanon’s past decision, where since 2010 the Solemnity of the Annunciation was proclaimed a national holiday, with the declared intention of finding in the devotion to Mary - shared also by Muslims - a point of convergence among the different religious communities. "Since the Qur'an speaks a lot of the Virgin Mary and as this feast has become a national holiday in Lebanon" said Mayor Sallam "why not declare it as a holiday for the city of Nazareth, where the event of the Annunciation happened?". All representatives of the delegations present - Christians, Muslims and Druze of Galilee - greeted with pleasure and with great applause this statement and expressed full support for the initiative.
Newly-elected Mayor Sallam obtained a large majority of votes in the elections on 11 March between Ramez Jarayseh, outgoing mayor, in office since 1994. Last October elections was followed by appeals and complaints due to the results, and the Supreme Court decided to hold new elections. Ali Sallam was supported by the civic List party, Nassirati , which he founded, officially secular but which recognizes itself as primarily Muslim.