Christmas Mubarak. Chicago Temple Hosts a Christmas Play Mixing Islam and Christianity

09 Dec 2018

Posted by Gary Nguyen

Christmas Mubarak is an original production from Silk Road Rising. For the audience of Christmas Mubarak, a new play, the evergreen Christian Nativity scene will be a surprise. There is the expected Virgin Mary, lovingly cradling her just-born son Jesus Christ. However, is not a crying or silent one as expected; Christ speaks and defends Mary’s innocence. He also declares his appointment as a prophet.

Chicago Temple Hosts a Christmas Play Mixing Islam and Christianity.

Christmas Mubarak is an original production brought to the stage by Silk Road Rising, a theater company in Chicago. It narrates the story of the births and continues to the lives of both Jesus and Mary. The content is sourced from not only Christian traditions, but also from the Quranic Muslim ones. The production is a result of co-operation from Malik Gillani, who is a Shiite Ismaili Muslim, and a Syrian Orthodox Christian, Jamil Khoury. They hope the play will illustrate the commonality between the two religions.

The play is made possible by an ensemble cast consisting of four people. They play all characters and add a number of scholarly additions where the oft-repeated Christian stories are interpreted in a different manner by Muslim traditions. The creators of the show have described it as a kind of “love affair” between Jesus and Islam. To Muslims, Jesus is another prophet. Critics have already praised the production, which premiered in the last weekend of November at the First United Methodist Church Chicago Temple.

The Silk Road Rising debuted at the basement theater of the Temple. The theater company was created post September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with the intention to influence conversations regarding Middle Eastern and Asian Americans. The church now hosts the theater company.

As expected, the show has multiple songs, ranging from the age-old hallowed Byzantine Christian hymns to the relatively modern Christmas carols like “Oh Holy Night.” Many members of the choir of United Methodist Church perform contemporary Christian songs including “Mary Did You Know.” The play is directed by Corey Pond, a member of Silk Road Rising. He has also adapted the play by working with a consultant specializing in Islam to ensure it would not be offensive to conservative-minded Muslims. He described the play as a kind of love letter to Muslims. He wants the latter to feel included in the Christmas holiday. The Christmas Mubarak production is supported by The Interfaith Fund and Landau Family Foundation.

Read more at World Religion News: “Chicago Temple Hosts a Christmas Play Mixing Islam and Christianity”

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