Hamas votes to institute Sharia law.
JANUARY 10, 2009 – Mission News Network (MNN) is a mission news service dedicated to keeping Christians informed on evangelical mission activity around the world.
During the past two weeks very little has been reported by the media about Palestinian Christians living in Gaza. Here are two recent reports from MNN which reflect the status of their situation.
Palestinian Christians in Gaza: “If the Hamas government is ousted by the Israelis . . . there will be cheering in the streets.”
ISRAEL (MNN) JANUARY 6, 2009 – The casualties continue to rise in Gaza as Israel continues to retaliate for the dozens of Hamas-fired missiles that broke a cease-fire more than 10 days ago. It is believed that nearly 500 people have been killed in the violence, with over 2,000 wounded.
While the violence continues in the region, Christians are facing even more difficulties. Tom Doyle with E3 Partners says Hamas voted December 23rd to institute Sharia (Islamic) law in Gaza, which means radical Islam will rule — women must be veiled, secret police will be watching everyone, and worse, says Doyle. “They also included in that the ability to crucify someone if they make a charge against Islam. It’s just definitely going backwards in that community.”
Doyle says the Christian community is already being affected. “The Gaza Baptist Church is right in the middle of where the action — obviously not a place where people want to be going to gather in a large group.” Worship services are “happening privately or in homes.”
If the Hamas government is ousted by the Israelis, Doyle says there will be “cheering in the streets. They know what that government means. They know how difficult it’s going to be on their family and their living conditions.”
Afraid to leave Gaza
JANUARY 7, 2009 – (MNN/OD) An estimated 2,500 Christians remain in Gaza. Last month many families tried to leave Gaza to visit family or friends in the West Bank to celebrate Christmas and find a safe place. But according to Suhad Massad, “Only permits were given to the elderly. Many people ages 18 to 35 were not allowed to leave Gaza. So several families are separated now, which is very difficult for them. Pauline Ayyad (widow of Rami Ayyad, manager of the Bible store in Gaza who was killed October 7, 2007) and her children were able to leave Gaza December 27 and are in the West Bank at the moment.”
Open Doors USA President/CEO Carl Moeller says Palestinian Christians have really no one to turn to. “They’re not part of Hamas. They’re not radical Islamic terrorists. And, they’re not Israelis. So the Israelis see them as Palestinians, and the Palestinian terrorists see them as Christians who are not part of their Islamic movement. It’s a tough place to be.”