ICC has carried several stories about the persecution that Christian Palestinians have been facing. We have warned that the situation for Christians is increasingly threatened. It is no wonder that Christians have left in droves.
YMCA warned to vacate Hamas town
After 6 years of operation, Christian organization being booted by terror group
By Aaron Klein
For the full story go to WorldNetDaily.com
JERUSALEM — The leadership of a West Bank Palestinian city now controlled by Hamas has warned a local Young Men’s Christian Association to close its offices and leave town or face likely Muslim violence, WorldNetDaily has learned.
The move highlighted long-standing fears Hamas would use its win in last January’s Palestinian parliamentary elections to impose an anti-Christian, anti-Jewish hard-line Islamist regime in the West Bank and Gaza .
“The face of the new Hamas government is coming to the forefront now that they finally took over and have a lot more confidence. They want to create a territory free of Christians and Jews,” said a Christian leader associated with the YMCA in Qalqiliya, a West Bank town under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority.
Yesterday, major Muslim organizations in Qalqiliya in conjunction with local mosques, the city’s Mufti and municipal leaders, sent a letter to the interior minister of the Hamas-led PA accusing the YMCA of missionary activities and demanding the Palestinian government immediately shut down the Christian offices.
The YMCA has operated in Qalqiliya since 2000.
The petition, obtained by WND, states, “We the preachers of the mosques and representatives of major families in Qalqiliya ask you to close the offices of the YMCA because the population of Qalqiliya doesn’t need such offices, especially since there are not many Christians in our city.”
It warned, “The act of these institutions of the YMCA, including attempting to convert Muslims in our city, will bring violence and tension.”
Already this past weekend several Molotov cocktails were thrown at Qalqiliya’s YMCA.
Local political sources said the attacks followed Friday sermons in dozens of Qalqiliya mosques in which preachers called upon the community to revolt against the YMCA.
“There was coordination among the mosques to speak about the YMCA Friday night. One major imam, for example, warned if the YMCA doesn’t close down it will lead to ‘acts that no one would like to see,'” said one political source.
Medi said Qalqiliya’s YMCA received a final notification from local leaders warning the association to close its offices before “drastic measures” were taken. He said no specific measures were specified.
One Christian leader, an aide to Jerusalem’s Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah who asked his name be withheld out of fear of Muslim retaliation, called the threats against Qalqiliya’s YMCA part of a general trend of Christian persecution in Palestinian areas.
“It’s been happening all over the West Bank and Gaza ,” said the aide.
There have been rampant reports of abuses and persecution in several West Bank towns taken over by the PA.
Anti-Christian riots have been reported in Ramallah, Nazareth and surrounding villages as well as in towns in Gaza .
In Bethlehem , local Christians have long complained of anti-Christian violence. The city’s Christian population, once 90 percent, declined drastically since the PA took control in December 1995. Christians now make up less than 25 percent of Bethlehem , according to Israeli surveys.
The demands for the YMCA to close are also the latest in a series of reports indicating Hamas may be seeking to impose Taliban-like Islamic rule.
Israeli officials say Hamas in the Gaza Strip has established hard-line Islamic courts and created the Hamas Anti-Corruption Group, which is described as a kind of “morality police” operating within Hamas’ organization. Hamas has denied the existence of the anti-corruption group, but it recently carried out a high-profile “honor killing” widely covered by the Palestinian media.
A Hamas-run council in the West Bank came under international criticism last year when it barred an open-air music and dance festival, declaring it was against Islam.