GayandRight

My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (www.freethinkingfilms.com)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A sad Christmas in Gaza...

Not a good place to be a Christian...
Gaza's tiny Christian community is keeping a low profile during Christmas this year, traumatized by the killing of a prominent activist after 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 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 society of 1.5 million people. The two religions have generally had cordial relations over the years.

That relationship has been shaken since Hamas seized control of Gaza last June and especially following the recent death of 32-year-old Rami Ayyad.

Ayyad, a member of the Baptist Church, managed Gaza's only Christian bookstore and was involved in many charitable activities. He was found shot in the head, his body thrown on a Gaza street in early October, 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.

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