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12/24/2020 Gaza (International Christian Concern) – The Hamas-led Ministry of Religious Affairs has instructed Gaza’s Muslims to limit their interactions with Christians, according to Fides. Such instructions were met with pushback, resulting in the ministry then clarifying that the statement was not intended to limit the practices of Christians on Christmas but rather to keep Muslims from participating in non-Islamic celebrations. As part of this clarification, the ministry also said that Gaza’s Christians were compatriots in the Palestinian cause.

Such a situation shows two elements commonly found within environments which are conducive to religious freedom violations. First, it indirectly conditions the acceptance of Christians in society upon their approval of a political cause. Gaza is an extreme case because the area is contained in such a way that Christians cannot physically escape the local, and thus are heavily impacted by politics. Second, such a statement encourages segregation between faiths rather than encouraging mutual respect of one another. However, such mutual respect is hard to encourage when a particular faith is tolerated conditionally.

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