Who Will Save the Christians in the Gaza Strip? (GateStone Institute) by Khaled Abu Toameh 07/20/12)
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"We only hear voices telling us not make too much noise. Today it is
happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in
Bethlehem. In a few months, there will be no Christians left in
Palestine." ó Christian man, Gaza City
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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