Gaza Christians Claim Forced Conversions

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.

More from Haaretz:

“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.

About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Noe

    Some of the world’s oldest, most continuous Christian communities are in peril all over the Middle East, ever more so with the “Arab Spring”. There population is not replacing itself and young people are fleeing economic problems and Islamicists. But even in Israel, for Christian ARABS (Arabs total are 20% of the population, Christian Arabs some 1%), jobs are scarce, housing for young couples is competitive AND scarce – but Russian Orthodox communities are booming. Israel Interior claims it’s “Christian community” is growing by counting Russian et al immigrants (who move there by taking advantage of the Law of Return, because they can ‘prove’ one of their grandparents – or even one of their spouses grandparents – is Jewish on some ‘official’ document), while dismissing decline of Arab Christians. There is even competition for land zoned for burial between communities – of the non-Jewish population, there is socially-engineered incentive for Arab citizens to leave to be replaced by the Russians, who though mostly secular and culturally Christian, are acceptable because they are “white” and European, as is the social elite of Israel (though even 50+% of the Jewish population is Middle Eastern).

  • Theophile

    Staying with Muslims…For fear of retribution, from Christians…right.

  • Ms. Malaprop

    Wait – what kind of protest was it, exactly?

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    The Christians rang a church bell and chanted, “”With our spirit, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Jesus.”

  • Jeff

    Haretz is not reporting anything. The story is from the Associated Press, which did the reporting. Haretz is merely a news service with permission to publish AP news. The same story can be found on many other news websites such as the Washington Post and ABC News, and not only at Haretz.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    It’s sad to see these policies and these results, since I support Israel and the unique rights of Jews to a homeland. I’m not so sure I’d see it as simple racism against Arabs, so much as an attempt to replace a population that has antagonistic tendencies with one that doesn’t, with little concern for the people hurt in the process.