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    » 10/08/2007, 00.00

    PALESTINE

    Protestant Christian tortured and killed in Gaza

    Arieh Cohen

    He managed the territory's only Christian bookshop and in the past had received threats for spreading the Gospel. Hamas promises to find those responsible for the crime. For Fr. David Jaeger, an Israeli Franciscan, the martyrdom of this protestant must push Christians to be free from fear, conditioning and false “prudence”.

    Gaza (AsiaNews) – A Palestinian protestant missionary was killed yesterday.  He went missing Saturday October 6th in the afternoon and his body was found yesterday in a city street, tortured and with to bullet wounds to the head. Authorities from Shifa hospital confirmed that his body carried diverse knife wounds. 

    Rami Khader Ayyad, 32, was the director of the only Christian bookshop in Gaza, linked to the protestant organisation of the Palestinian Bible society. Ayyad had received death threats for his missionary work in spreading the Gospel. Last April his bookshop had been burnt during a campaign against “vice” launched by the group “the sword of Islam”.

    Simon Azazian, spokesperson for the Bible Society in Jerusalem declared that Ayyad was killed for “his Christian faith”. Azazian confirms that October 5th, Ayyad had been followed by a car without registration plates.  Saturday afternoon, as he closed his shop, he was kidnapped by a group of unknown men.  Ayyad then phoned his family – his wife and two children – saying that he would be late home.  His body was found lifeless the next day.

    The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, immediately issued a statement calling the killing “a desperate attempt to sabotage the good social relations in Palestinian society and the friendly relations between Christian and Muslims”.

    Hamas authorities, who manage security in Gaza, have promised to punish “without pity” the authors of the crime who, “compromise the security and stability of our people”.

    In Gaza there are around 3,200 Christians – Greek Orthodox, Catholic and protestant – compared to a Muslim population of circa 1.5 million.  Relations between the two communities, by and large are calm, united by the same ethnic roots.  The rising Islamic fundamentalism in Gaza and in the Palestinian world is however creating increasing incidents between the two.  During the Hamas takeover, vandals ransacked a Catholic convent and an adjacent Rosary Sisters school, breakingcrosses and smashing the face of a ceramic Jesus. No one claimed responsibility, and Hamas vehemently denied involvement.

    Even during the crises created by the Muhammad cartoon affair the Catholic Church in Gaza was besieged forcing an immediate police intervention.

    Ayyad was a Protestant Baptist, well known for his courage. Often he was criticised by yellow Christians for his work which they considered too visible and explicit, linked to foreign Protestants.  Majority of the Christians in fact prefer keeping a low profile to avoid any difficulties or accusations linked to proselytism.

    Questioned by AsiaNews, Fr. David Maria Jaeger, an Israel Franciscan in the Holy Land said: “Ayyad was an intrepid Christian, a glory for the entire community of believers in Christ who live in His homeland.  The fact that he belonged to the Protestant community underlines that what unites us outstrips what divides us.  And its not the first time in the Region that the protestant evangelicals enlighten us and teach us to have faith in Christ, free from conditioning, free from fear and a presumptuous “prudence”, which all too often burden so many of us Christians”.

    Fr. Jaeger calls Rami Ayyad “a martyr”. “From the proto-martyr Stephan to today, the Church in the Holy Land has been enriched by the witness of so many martyrs.  We can only place our hope in the ancient and comforting certainty that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians”.

     

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    See also

    03/10/2006 PALESTINE
    Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades make death threats against Hamas ministers
    Latest survey indicates that if an election were held now, Fatah would beat Hamas. However, current Prime Minister Haniyeh is seen as the most reliable politician.

    19/11/2012 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Ban Ki-moon calls for a truce. Children killed in Gaza "by mistake"; injured persons in Israel
    An Israeli raid, which was to kill the Hamas leader, responsible for the rocket attacks, has killed nine people, including some children: "a technical error". Yesterday nearly 150 missiles on Israeli cities have left two seriously injured. In Cairo, together with Israeli and Palestinian representatives, work is being done for a cease-fire.

    27/12/2008 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    At least 70 dead, initial tally of Israeli retaliation against Hamas
    Aircraft bearing the Star of David this morning began attacking fundamentalist targets. President Peres denies that his country wants to reoccupy Gaza. Egypt is trying to stop the violence.

    01/08/2016 14:45:00 INDIA
    Andhra Pradesh, Maoists torture and kill a Protestant pastor

    Pastor Yohan Maraiah was dragged from his home and taken by force into the forest. His body was dumped near the village, with his hands tied behind his back. The Maoists repeatedly stabbed him and shot him. The rebels claim he was murdered for having "accumulated wealth", but the pastor served the poorest of the village.



    03/04/2009 ISRAEL - PALESTINE
    Retaliation possible after killing of Israeli teen in Bat Ayin
    The teen who was killed and the boy who was wounded may have been victims of the "guilt" of their parents, members of a settlement in the Occupied Territories. Netanyahu and Liebermann halt the peace process; Hamas and Fatah break off reconciliation talks.



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