The Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi is displaying a seven million pound Christmas Tree in its Foyer. It has loaded the tree with gold and diamonds in order to promote the spirit of Christmas to the tourists jetting in for the Yuletide festivities.
The Minister of Culture for the United Arab Emirates has promoted the tree as a token of Muslim affection for the followers of Christ who visit his country at Christmas time. 'Muslims have always been tolerant towards people of different faiths. Here is an example that will bring visitors to spend their money in our beautiful desert.'
The Archbishop of Canterbury, speaking to a congregation in nearby Iraq, where there have been some unfortunate misunderstandings between Muslims and Christians, said 'This gesture of goodwill, when we remember the birth of Christ, underlines the importance of how a stable in Bethlehem can be coupled with a hotel in Abu Dhabi to emphasise that we must all love one another.'
A startled Muslim leader frowned at this. 'You mean Christ was born in Israel?'.
'No, not really' replied a confident Archbishop 'it was not called that in those days.'
However news of the Archbishop's remarks spread and the Christmas tree is due to be removed and sold for firewood. The gold and diamonds have been kept so they do not get into the wrong hands.