Monday, July 02, 2007

Religious Bridge-Building, Gaza Style

From the Jerusalem Post:

Gaza's Christians

Jun. 30, 2007

For years realists on Middle East affairs said a Palestinian state would become a platform for radical Islamist terror and that the most dangerous merchants of death would populate the ministate created by the disastrous decisions finalized in Oslo, Norway, on August 20, 1993.

Fourteen years after Oslo, we are reaping the whirlwind of that awful agreement. Citizens of the Gaza Strip now know the force of diplomatic improprieties that crush lives and destroy future serenity.

In a recent, vicious coup, the Hamas terror organization seized control of Gaza and almost immediately announced its game plan for the new "Hamastan." Israel had already assured a Jewless ministate when it dismembered the Jewish communities there in August and September 2005, forcing 8,000 Israelis out of Gaza. Now Hamas is dealing with the next class of infidels: Christian Arabs.

In a June 19 WorldNetDaily (WND) article titled "Christians warned: Accept Islamic law," Aaron Klein reported what the future holds for Christians gullible enough to believe they could live in Gaza with the same freedoms they had under Israeli governance.

A Hamas leader told WND that Christians can only live safely in Gaza if they accept Islamic law. The speaker was Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic movement that recently opened a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law there.

Christians in Gaza, Saqer declared, who dare to engage in "missionary activity" will be "dealt with harshly," WND reported. Of course, women will be expected to follow the rules of Islamic dress and will not be allowed in the streets without acceptable garments. His threats came two days after a church and Christian school were attacked following Hamas's seizure of power in the territory.

"I expect," the sheik declared, "our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza... The situation has now changed 180 degrees."

Klein reported that Saqer accused leaders of the Gaza Christian community of "proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals."

Jihadia Salafiya is suspected of attacking a UN-run school in Gaza in May that allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in that attack.

Wrote Klein: "Abu Saqer claimed there was 'no need' for the thousands of Christians in Gaza to maintain a large number of institutions in the territory."

Furthermore, he plans to monitor them to be sure "they are not carrying out missionary activity."

About 2,000 Christians remain in the Gaza Strip. But those numbers will soon diminish significantly.

Any assessment of Islamic extremism will reveal a pattern of oppression and exclusion of any who differ from Islam's religiously intractable position. Therefore, any who operate under the delusion that Islamists will promote or even tolerate other faiths are badly mistaken.

To propose that organizations like Hamas be recognized as peace partners and responsible caretakers of the people over whom they rule is an embarrassment to freedom-loving people and sends a clear message to our enemies. The message is that it is okay to tell Christians and other minorities that they can kiss freedom goodbye, pack up, and get out - all with the blessing of liberal Western religionists and politicians who blindly countenance jihadist imperialism.

Gaza: a case in point.

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