Haaretz is reporting that dozens of Christians in Gaza held a rare pubic protest against persecution at the hands of Muslims. The group is claiming that two Christians were forcibly converted to Islam and are still being held against their will. The Christians rang a church bell and chanted, “”With our spirit, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Jesus.”
Police in Gaza say that the two Christians converted of their own free will, and are staying with Muslims voluntarily out of fear of retribution from the Christians. However, Gaza’s embattled Christian population tends to keep a very low profile. It would be extremely unusual for them to make such a public display without cause. Among Gaza’s 1.7 million people, barely 1,500 Christians remain.
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“If things remain like this, there’ll be no Christians left in Gaza,” said Huda Al-Amash, mother of one of the converts, Ramez, 25. She sat sobbing in a church hallway alongside her daughters, Ranin and Rinad, and a dozen other women. “Today it’s Ramez. Then who, and who will be next?”
The two converts, Al-Amash, and Hiba Abu Dawoud, 31, could not be reached for comment. Abu Dawould took her three daughters with her, further enraging the community.
On Monday, groups of men and women stood in groups in the square of the ancient Church of Saint Porphyrius, angrily chanting,” Bring back Ramez!” One man angrily hit the church bell.
“People are locking up their sons and daughters, worried about the ideas people put in their head,” said Al-Amash’s mother, Huda.