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Who Will Save the Christians in the Gaza Strip?


Gazan Christians celebrating Easter Mass

Gazan Christians celebrating Easter Mass
Photo Credit: Wissam Nassar/Flash90

Are Palestinian Christians living in the Gaza Strip being kidnapped by Muslims who force them to convert to Islam? This is a story that is considered taboo among many Palestinians, who prefer to lay all the blame only on Israel.

According to the Greek Orthodox Church in the Gaza Strip, at least five Christians have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam in recent weeks.

If anyone has good reason to fear for his life it is Archbishop Alexios, head of the Greek Church in the Gaza Strip, who is spearheading the protests against persecution of Christians and forced conversions.

In the past few days the archbishop has come under sharp criticism from many Palestinians and the Hamas government for daring to speak out about the plight of his community.

Islamic groups and human rights activists in the Gaza Strip claimed that the Christians converted to Islam of their own free will.

They even released a videotape of a young Christian man, Ramez al-Amash, 24, in which he declared that he had voluntarily abandoned his faith in favor of Islam.

The church blamed an unidentified terror group of being behind the forced conversions and called on the international community to intervene to save the Christians.

Church leaders also accused a prominent Hamas man of being behind the kidnapping and forced conversion of a Christian woman, Huda Abu Daoud, and her three daughters. Shortly after she disappeared, the woman sent a message to her husband’s mobile phone informing him that she and her daughters had converted to Islam.

In a rare public protest, leaders and members of the 2,000-strong Christian community in the Gaza Strip staged a sit-in strike in the Gaza Strip this week to condemn the abductions and forced conversions in particular, and persecution at the hands of radical Muslims in general.

The protest has further aggravated tensions between Muslims and Christians in the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since 2007.

Leaders and members of the Christian community now fear reprisal attacks by Muslim extremists. Some have appealed to the Vatican and Christian groups and churches in the US, Canada and Europe for help.

But according to Christian families, the world does not seem to care about their plight. “We only hear voices telling us to stay where we are and to stop making too much noise,” said a Christian man living in Gaza City. “If they continue to turn a blind eye to our tragedy, in a few months there will be no Christians left in Palestine. Today it’s happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in Bethlehem.”

The public protest by the Christians in the Gaza Strip is a first step in the right direction. This is a move that could finally draw the attention of the international community, including Church leaders across the US, to the real problems and dangers facing Palestinian Christians.

Radical Islam, and not checkpoints or a security fence, remains the main threat to defenseless Christians not only in the Palestinians territories, but in the entire Middle East as well.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org

About the Author: Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab Muslim, is a veteran award-winning journalist who has been covering Palestinian affairs for nearly three decades.


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5 Responses to “Who Will Save the Christians in the Gaza Strip?”

  1. Gil Gilman says:

    Radical Islam is a threat to everyone, including themselves. I think of Radical Islam as the orcs and goblins of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. who set about killing everyone including each other. Theoden asks, "What can men do against such reckless hate?" Aragorn tells him, "Ride out to meet them." When the struggling remnant choose to do so unlooked for aid comes to their defense.

    These people have descended to the level of beasts as they kill men, women, and children…defenseless civilians as well as armed combatants. This is nothing new, it has been going on throughout recorded history. Hitler, Stalin, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Rape of Nanking are fading from memory as that generation disappears from the face of the earth, and kept alive only in books and films, being replaced by current horrors.

    The one thing separating the Radical Islamists from the orcs of Tolkien is that they don't yet eat the dead. The raping of women and girls as they pillage and burn does. The forced conversions fit this category as well. The Orcs were one time Elves of lofty and noble ideals, but who were captured, tortured and through various devices turned into the same wretched offscouring. This aspect is reminiscent of the Marranos, although Benjamin Netanyahu's father conclusively demonstrated that they were Christians who continued to live their lives as Jews, and what was being done was forcible removal of Jewish practices from their lives, a kind of death in and of itself.

    So then, we shouldn't be appalled as if this were a first time event. As then, the masses will sit about groaning and wringing their hands, and doing nothing substantial about this tragedy. The bureaucrats also, and world leaders. The responses thus far are very much like the 1930s when mad men ran amok, and few did anything.

    For those who believe in a Divine Providence, maybe now is the time to call on that Source instead of calling on oh so fickle men, from oh so fickle nations, and oh so self serving religious entities. This is where the rubber meets the road. Is the G-d of Judaism and Christianity more powerful than the Islamic deity or not? There is a verse from the Tanakh, that starts something like, "If My people, upon which My name is called, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from wickedness; then I will hear from Heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. But a little faith is needed.

  2. Very soon USA? But again Islam is a Peaceful Religion. Will someone please wake up and smell the roses!

  3. Inbreeding with 1st cousins for centuries can waste away a brain.

  4. The eradication of the Christians of Gaza shows the world the reality of Palestinian rule.

    The Hamas charter proclaims the religious toleration of Non-Muslims.

    But even only 2000 people among 1.7 million Muslims can't be left alone.

  5. When they will realize who their opponents and who are its advocates?

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