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Hamas Cracks Down on Christians; Pushes Conversion to Islam

ICC Note: Christians living in the Gaza Strip live under the reality of ongoing attacks on both churches and individuals. Living under the control of Hamas which considers Christians as infidels, the situation is more serious than you can imagine, Hazem Shanab said. Hamas controls all churches and mosques implements their ideology in all sectors of life, even to rewriting textbooks to match their worldview.

11/25/2013 Gaza (MidEast Christian News) - Dr. Hazem Abu Shanab, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, told MCN that Hamas, in association with the Muslim Brotherhood, is controlling the Gaza Strip by force of arms, and is cracking down on Christians and restricting their freedom of worship. It is also trying to force them to abandon Christianity and convert to Islam, he said.

Hamas has reacted violently against Christians in issues related to this, said Shanab. He explained that there are ongoing attacks on churches and Christians in the Gaza Strip because Hamas considers Christians "infidels."

Abu Shanab said Hamas modified academic textbooks for this academic year to serve its own plans and “radical ideas.” Muslims and Christians in Gaza are experiencing restrictions on freedoms, and do not have the basic needs for life, such as food, drink and medicine, he said.

Speaking to MCN, Abu Shanab said the situation in Gaza is very bad, because an armed group affiliated to Hamas is controlling the situation. This group claims to rule by law and has legitimacy, he said. Hamas, on the other hand, is cracking down on Christians’ freedom to worship and trying to force them to embrace Islam.

"There are encroachments on Christian and Islamic houses of worship because the military administration of Hamas has the upper hand, and such attacks particularly target churches and Christians, who are considered ‘infidels,’ which leads to more violence against them,” he said.

Abu Shanab stressed that all mosques and churches are under the control of Hamas, and the situation is more serious than anyone can imagine. He said many attacks have taken place again churches and Christians, and have been documented.

"The Gaza Strip is hijacked with all its buildings and citizens, and all who live in Gaza are subjected to the whims and ideology of Hamas," Abu Shanab added.

He pointed out that with the beginning of the new academic year in September Hamas made changes to the textbooks to serve its own radical ideas, and imposed these materials on Christians in all stages of education, although the Palestinian Authority has refused these materials.

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