December 25, 2007, - 2:43 pm

“Religion of Peace”: Christmas in Gaza a Time of Fear

By Debbie Schlussel
It’s interesting. Last night and all day today, TV news reports either claim (falsely) that it’s more peaceful in Jesus’ Bethlehem now because of the “peace” talks, or they say it isn’t and blame the Israelis for “checkpoints.” The same goes for print.
But, instead of using Christmas to attack Israel–even though they are safer because of Israelis and under attack all over the Muslim world, where they mostly must hold Mass in secret–you aren’t hearing much about Christmas in HAMASastan a/k/a Gaze. Maybe that’s because this one they can’t falsely pin on THE JOOOOS, no matter how much they want to. And, yet, they still try . . . even in this article. This story is telling of who is persecuting Christians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other Islamist land, as examplified, by the atmosphere on the day of Jesus’ birth, in HAMASastan:

Gaza’s tiny Christian community is keeping a low profile this Christmas, traumatized by the killing of a prominent activist in the wake of Hamas’ takeover of the coastal territory.
Few Christmas trees are on display, churches are holding austere services and hundreds of Christians hope to travel to the [Fatah]-controlled West Bank to celebrate the holiday in Bethlehem. Many say they don’t plan on returning to Gaza.
“We have a very sad Christmas,” said Essam Farah, acting pastor of Gaza’s Baptist Church, which has canceled its annual children’s party because of the grim atmosphere.
About 3,000 Christians live in Gaza, an overwhelmingly conservative Muslim territory of 1.5 million people. It has been virtually cut off from the world and its residents driven deeper into poverty since the June takeover by Hamas . . . .
Hamas seized control and tensions were exacerbated with the recent death of 32-year-old Rami Ayyad.
Ayyad, a member of the Baptist Church, managed Gaza’s only Christian bookstore. In early October, he was found shot in the head, his body thrown on a Gaza street 10 hours after he was kidnapped from the store.
He regularly received death threats from people angry about his perceived missionary work–a rarity among Gaza’s Christians–and the store was firebombed six months before the kidnapping.
. . .
Christians fear that the Hamas takeover, along with the lack of progress in finding Ayyad’s killers, has emboldened Islamic extremists. . . .
At the Baptist Church on Sunday, just 10 people attended the regular weekly prayer service, down from an average of 70. There was no Christmas tree in sight.
Farah said the church’s full-time pastor, along with his family and 12 employees of Ayyad’s store, have relocated to the West Bank . . . . Farah said he prayed for forgiveness and love among Muslims and Christians. [DS: Keep praying.]
Community leaders say an unprecedented number of Christian families are already migrating from Gaza _ rattled by the religious tensions and tough economic sanctions Israel imposed on the area after the Hamas takeover.
While no official statistics were available, the signs of the flight are evident. Rev. Manuel Musallem, head of Gaza’s Roman Catholic church, said he alone knows of seven families that sold their properties and left the area, and 15 more are preparing to do the same.
Musallem blamed Israeli sanctions and excessive violence in Gaza for the flight. [DS: When Muslims Persecute Christians in a Muslim region, Blame the . . . . Jews, who left there 2.5 years ago.] . . .
“Exit is not on individual basis. Whole families are leaving, selling their cars, homes and all their properties.”
The signs of despair are evident at Ayyad’s home. Posters declaring him a “martyr of Jesus” hang on the walls. There is no Christmas tree this year.
Ayyad’s older brother, 35-year old Ibrahim, said his 6-year old son, Khedr, was nagged in school about his uncle’s murder. Muslim schoolmates call him “infidel.”
Ayyad’s wife, Pauline, 29, left for Bethlehem a month ago with her two children. She said their 3-year-old son, George, has been shattered by his father’s death.
“I tell him Papa Noel (Santa Claus) is coming to see you, and he tells me he wants Papa Rami,” she said tearfully during a telephone interview.
Pauline, who is seven months pregnant
, said she plans to come back to Gaza for the birth. [DS: Big mistake.]
But many Christians privately said they would use their travel permits to leave Gaza for good. . . .
A family of four, refusing to be identified for fear their permits would be revoked, have sold their house and car and packed their bags. The wife has transferred her job to the West Bank and enrolled her son and daughter in school there. “We fear what is to come,” said the husband.
Fouad, a distant relative of Ayyad, said he also is packing up. He said his father, a guard at a local church, was stopped recently by unknown bearded men who put a gun to his head before he was rescued by passers-by.
“We don’t know why it happened,” the 20-year-old police officer said. “We can’t be sure how they (Muslims) think anymore.”
Those who are staying are trying to limit the risks. Nazek Surri, a Roman Catholic, walked out from Sunday’s service with a Muslim-style scarf covering her head.
“We have to respect the atmosphere we are living in. We have to go with the trend,” she said.

Sadly, that is the trend all over the world. . . even here in the U.S. Trying being a Christian Arab in Dearbornistan. Good luck.

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11 Responses

[Musallem blamed Israeli sanctions and excessive violence in Gaza for the flight. [DS: When Muslims Persecute Christians in a Muslim region, Blame the . . . . Jews, who left there 2.5 years ago.] . . .
The fact that Palestinian Christians are blaming Jews for their problems should mean what exactly? (I’m not expressing an opinion here)
[NB: I REMOVED YOUR LINK TO THAT PIECE B/C IT IS A COMPLETE LIE AND HAS BEEN TOTALLY DEBUNKED BY CAMERA (COMMITTEE ON ACCURACY IN MIDDLE EAST REPORTING IN AMERICA, HERE: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=54&x_article=1414, AND THE AUTHOR OF THE PIECE, A NEWSWEEK CONTRIBUTOR, ADMITTED ELSEWHERE THAT HE HASN'T BEEN TO ISRAEL OR THAT AREA IN SEVEN YEARS, AND LIED ABOUT IT. SORRY, BUT I DON'T WANT MY SITE TO BE THE POINT OF DISSEMINATING PHONY, FABRICATED ANTI-ISRAEL PROPAGANDA. NEWSWEEK HAS A HISTORY OF THIS. ITS MID-EAST BUREAU CHIEF, CHRISTOPHER DICKEY IS BASED IN PARIS (YES, THAT'S NOW THE MID-EAST APPARENTLY; CLOSE ENOUGH, I SUPPOSE). AND HE WROTE A SCATHING ARTICLE AGAINST ME, DENIGRATING ME B/C I GOT A SCOOP ON THE MID-EAST BEFORE HE DID, ON THE MUSLIM BOYCOTT OF STARBUCKS. THAT'S HOW THIS MAGAZINE ENGAGES IN "JOURNALISM" AND "REPORTING." DS]

Norman Blitzer on December 25, 2007 at 4:33 pm

The few Palestinian Christians left are terrified of their Muslim overlords so they are trying to buy protection for themselves with their masters by criticizing Israel. Yet many of them are trying to move into Israel itself in order to be able to practice Christianity freely. The Christian population of Israel is increasing.
Henry Hyde and Robert Novak were/are two assholes.

Ripper on December 25, 2007 at 5:03 pm

The Islamofascists… go after the Sunday people now. Their next target is the Saturday people. They can’t live in peace with Arabs of a non-Muslim religion. What makes any one think they can live in peace with Jews whom they hate even more? Instead of being good little dhmmis, its time Israel began fighting back. For true peace and goodwill to all men on earth.

NormanF on December 25, 2007 at 5:20 pm

Never a word from Bush.

Pat on December 25, 2007 at 6:38 pm

Debbie, an Episcopalian Church leader in my town went to Israel and Judea, came back and wrote a predictably nasty opinion piece explaining how badly the Israelis treat Palestinian Christians (and Moslems) and how they ruin X-mas. He was particularly angry about the Wall and seemed impressed with the Palestinians he met. I can only hope that he makes a return trip to include Gaza next time.

Anonymous1 on December 25, 2007 at 9:27 pm

I am wondering if this Church leader mentioned the name Azmi Bishara in his piece?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azmi_Bishara
I would like to ask this leader why a lot of Christians are serving proudly in the IDF and plenty of them are rancked officers?
AH, “He was particularly angry about the Wall”.
He should visit Syria and Iran next time and try to see the daily torture of Christians and others behind the Walls of the prisons.
All my respect to you Anonymous 1.

Daniel on December 25, 2007 at 11:28 pm

Debbie–
Very sad what is going on the the Holy Land. A few year-end thoughts…
1. If one wishes to blame the Jews, about the only thing to blame them for would be their lockstep embrace of the Left. This can be traced back to two concepts, both of which are completely stupid…
a) Foolish identification with Bolshevik movement, presumably because the Bolshies were against the Czar, and the Czar oppressed Jews. They also liked the fact that “Jews” such as Trotsky were part of the movement.
Of course, when the Jews were just as oppressed as ever under the Commies, you never heard a whole lot from the useful idiots.
b) Mislabeling of the Nazis as a right-wing movement, when they were simply a competitive socialistic movement. The Nazis took advantage of the already-present anti-Semitism, and were at least as atheistic as the Russian commies.
2. There is no point in blaming the Jews for the sad fact that Israel was founded by flower-child Leftists, whose appeasement of the Muslims, and bowing to so-called world opinion would make King David spin in his grave.
3. Although the influence of the Left-wing elite media has waned considerably in the wake of talk radio and the Internet, an incredible amount of damage has been done the likes of such traitors as Cronkite, Wallace, Murrow, and many more.
4. Finally, it must be said that the world is surely paying the price for two gigantic evils..
*** The failure of the Crusades
*** The scourge of abortion

Red Ryder on December 26, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Isn’t the correct spelling of the terrorist entity… Hamasatan?

Jack Bauer on December 26, 2007 at 12:46 pm

Why anyone thinks that they can live in or deal with these muslim-run countries is beyond me.

Ford Jones on December 26, 2007 at 12:49 pm

I think you are being unfair to these Muslims Debbie. Just as the header on your article states, this is the “Religion of Peace”. What in the hell is wrong with everybody, can’t they see that. There must be some kind of misunderstanding here. Those Jews and Christians are the ones causing all the problems for the poor peace loving Muslims. Let’s try to be a little more tolerant, huh?? lol

JoeBoy on December 26, 2007 at 1:02 pm

JoeBoy, you are so right. All the Pals want is a chance to live like anyone else..after they kill all the Jews, Christians, infidels, devil dogs and so on that is. Give me that old time Religion of Peace, it’s good enuff for me.

TheOmegaMan on December 26, 2007 at 1:07 pm

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