Don’t be fooled by the media hype over this year’s Christmas celebrations in Bethlehem.
“BETHLEHEM, West Bank: Encouraged by renewed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Christian pilgrims from around the world converged on Jesus’ traditional birthplace Monday to celebrate Christmas — a palpable contrast to the sparse crowds of recent years. The diverse mix of people included festive American tourists, clergymen in brown flowing robes and Palestinian scouts wearing kilts and playing bagpipes.”
Yes, tourism to the former Christian city has increased from last year’s level, and that is a good thing, but outside of the Christmas religious holiday festivities, there is little to be happy about. The Muslim purging of the Christian population from Bethlehem and other Christian areas in the PA areas, continues unabated.
Arab Christians who once comprised 90% of the population of Bethlehem, have been slowly but surely forced out of their ancient city for more peaceful pastures elsewhere. These Christians have been feeling the Islamic “pinch” for years –which came on the heels of (supposedly secular) Yasser Arafat’s return to the disputed territories– and all this has taken place to the muted silence within the Christian leadership community concerning the Islamic element involved in the Christian exodus from the Holy Land.
The situation facing Christian Arabs in Gaza describes the real state of relations between Muslims and Christians throughout the PA. But in reading the AP wire story, you notice that many people are ignorant of both the reality on the ground, as well as the Muslim violence that has been directed towards these Christians over the years.
“Tiago Martins, 28, from Curitiba, Brazil, said the new peace talks had prompted him to visit Bethlehem for the first time. “The idea that it’s a Christian city makes me more calm, and I think going to the West Bank is more comfortable since Annapolis,” Martins said.”
The opinions expressed by Tiago Martins, are typical for many Christians who are completely unaware (special thanks to the media) of what has been taking place in Bethlehem and elsewhere. Bethlehem is no longer a Christian city, it began to cease being so when Yasser Arafat incorporated local Muslim villages into what is now known as Bethlehem. The city that once held a Christian 90% majority, is now 70% Muslim. Systematic cultural genocide has been taking place for years, with Islam now calling the shots on the city council, that dictates what will or will not happen to its dhimmi Christian minority.
No doubt that some Christian presence will be allowed for by the Muslims, Christian tourism is their bread and butter, as well as the dhimmi taxes they gouge from the local Christian community. But when it comes to running the affairs fo the city, it is Islam that rules it, the Christians are only there as a needed window dressing for the future of tourism.
In Gaza, the situation is much more clear, since Christian tourism was never a factor for the area, the Islamist supremacists have no need for these infidels, and they have been subjected to a sustained level of intimidation to encourage them to either convert to Islam, or leave.
“We have a very sad Christmas,” said Essam Farah, acting pastor of Gaza’s Baptist Church, which has canceled its annual children’s party because of the grim atmosphere. About 3,000 Christians live in Gaza, an overwhelmingly conservative Muslim territory of 1.5 million people. It has been virtually cut off from the world and its residents driven deeper into poverty since the June takeover by Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the United States.”
Their Churches have been both looted and burned, and their leaders murdered or roughend up to be taught a lesson. The women even feel the need to dress in an Islamic style in order not to become the next victim.
“Those who are staying are trying to limit the risks. Nazek Surri, a Roman Catholic, walked out from Sunday’s service with a Muslim-style scarf covering her head. “We have to respect the atmosphere we are living in. We have to go with the trend,” she said.”
This is the reality of what it’s like to live as a Christian within an Islamic society, that has been juiced up with a new fervent respect for the words its prophet. It’s all in the Koran, any justification for the ill treatment of any non-Muslim, has sound scriptural basis within their holy book, that dictates that all Christians and Jews are to be made subordinate to Islam and made to feel inferior. And wherever 7th century interpretations of the Koran are taught, there exists these gross violations of civil/human liberties, not only for non-Muslim communities, but for Muslims as well. *L* KGS