by Aaron Klein
Palestinian official says they need to be watched,
prevented from evangelizing, converting Muslims
"We have been watching this Christian organization and for the moment there is nothing special in their activity," said Adnan Dmeire, spokesman for the PA's security organizations in
Dmeire was referring to the Association of the Holy Book, one of the main groups that attends to the needs of Christians in the Palestinian territories. The group has been accused by both the PA and Hamas of carrying out missionary activities. A Bible store the association sponsored in the Gaza Strip – the only Christian bookstore in the territory – was attacked by Islamists several times. The store's owner, Rami Ayyad, was found shot to death in 2007, his body riddled with bullets.
Dmeire was responding to a WND inquiry regarding a Hamas accusation earlier this week that the PA was allowing the Christian association to carry out missionary activity in the
Christian persecution trend
Christians living in the Palestinian territories have not faired well under PA or Hamas rule.
In 2006, a YMCA in the northern
Following the YMCA attack, one Christian leader, an aide to
"It's been happening all over the West Bank and
There have been rampant reports of abuses and persecution in several
Anti-Christian riots have been reported in Ramallah, Nazareth and surrounding villages as well as in towns in Gaza, where Christians have been targeted in scores of attacks, some deadly. In
Christian leaders and residents in
"It is a regular phenomenon in
In the Gaza Strip, Christians fare worse under Hamas rule. The Islamist group took over the territory in 2007. About 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over 1 million.
In December, Christian leaders in
Since Hamas' rise to power, Christian in
In the case of Ayyad, the bible store owner, WND quoted witnesses stating he was publicly tortured a few blocks from his store before he was shot to death. The witnesses said they saw three armed men, two of whom were wearing masks, beat Ayyad repeatedly with clubs and the butts of their guns while they accused him of attempting to spread Christianity in
Christians warned: Accept Islamic law
Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, told WND in an exclusive interview after Hamas first seized
"[Now that Hamas is in power,] the situation has changed 180 degrees in
"Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public," he said.
"Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped," said Abu Saqer. "If it goes on, we'll attack these things very harshly."
Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of "proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals."
"This missionary activity is endangering the entire Christian community in
Abu Saqer claimed there was "no need" for the thousands of Christians in
He said Hamas "must work to impose an Islamic rule or it will lose the authority it has and the will of the people."
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