Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christian Arabs Face Bethlehem Terror

New Report: Christian Arabs Face Bethlehem Terror

While many Christians around the world prepare to rejoice and carol over the Baby of Bethlehem, other Christians are cringing in fear in the birthplace of the Lord. Arab Christians living in the Palestinian territories are facing increasing persecution and threat. Three Christian Arabs reported to international human rights lawyer Justus Reid Weiner details of harassment, which included death threats. In 2005, Weiner had published “Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society,” in which he exposed horrendous stories of persecution, brutality, and even murder.

When I interviewed Weiner this week for Bridges for Peace’s Israel Mosaic Radio, he described phone threats made to Christian Arabs during the night: “We know who you are. We know where you live, and Sharia law tells us to kill you infidels.” Sharia or Islamic law forms the constitution of the Hamas government. “Many Christian Arabs have fled the territories; those who remain are sitting on their suitcases,” Weiner told me. In his new, updated report entitled “Christians Flee Growing Islamic Fundamentalism in the Holy Land,” Weiner wrote, “The Christian population of the area under the control of the Palestinian Authority [PA] has sharply declined, as tens of thousands have abandoned their holy sites and ancestral properties to live abroad.”

He compared the dwindling Christian community in the PA to the prosperity and growth of Christians living in Israel. He estimates the current Christian population in Israel at 130,000, an increase of 270% since the founding of the state. In the Palestinian region, Christians represent less than 1.7% of the population. Weiner points out that “every one of the more than 20 Muslim states in the Middle East has a declining Christian population. In fact, Israel is the only state in the region in which the Christian Arab population has grown in real terms.”
(By Ron Ross, Israel Mosaic Radio, December 12, 2006)

• The Bible says “the truth will set you free.” Pray that the truth about the situation of Christian Arabs will be broadcast throughout the world with the anointing of the Lord to minister on their behalf. • “Plead my cause, O LORD, with those who strive with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for my help.” (Psalm 35:1–2)

[Reported by: Bridges for Peace]