Monday, June 18, 2007

Gaza Christians Fear Attack

A few years ago, I read a book about the Crusades which spent the first chapter discussing the basic similarities and differences between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It was fascinating seeing where doctrines intersect and where they veer off in their own directions.

One of the points the author made, however, was that because of the violence of radical Muslims and the strict interpretation of the Koran by other Muslims, the Christian population in the birthplace of Christianity is a tiny--and shrinking--minority.

Now, we have Muslim extremists ransacking churches, burning Bibles and crosses, and looting a school and church.

Christians living in Gaza City on Monday appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. Many Christians said they were prepared to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the border crossings are reopened.

The appeal came following a series of attacks on a Christian school and church in Gaza City over the past few days.

Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the small Latin community in the Gaza Strip, said masked gunmen torched and looted the Rosary Sisters School and the Latin Church.

"The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church," he said. "Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy Book, computers and other equipment."

Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school. "Those who did these awful things have no respect for Christian-Muslim relations," he said.

He estimated damages at more than $500,000. "Those who see the destruction will realize how bad this attack was," he said. "Christians have been living in peace and security with Muslims for many years, but those who attacked us are trying to sabotage this relationship."

The tragedy of Gaza keeps spreading.