Church leaders in the vicinity of Bethlehem have spoken out against an incident in which Muslim males threw stones at worshippers.
Christian leaders have spoken out against the attack on a church near Bethlehem by a group of Muslim men and have asked the Palestinian Authority to act quickly.
In Beit Sahur, a mostly Christian area close to Bethlehem, a gang of Muslims stoned an Orthodox church, causing multiple injuries.
Shadi Khalloul, a Christian activist for Israeli rights and a candidate for the Knesset, shared a brief video of the assault on Twitter and posed the question, “Have you ever seen a Christian in the Arab world assaulting a mosque in a Christian town, and if not, why not?”
In a statement condemning the incident, Archbishop Atallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem called the assault a “unique occurrence.”
As published by the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, “What occurred on Friday night in Beit Sahur undermines the image of our people and affects civic peace and the good connection that links us as the sons of the Palestinian people.”
“The church is not a place for settling scores, stoking dissent, or eroding our people’s sense of community. The events at Beit Sahur were horrifying.
Wadie Abunassar of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land spoke out against the attack last week on his Facebook page. He said he was “sad and angry” about what had happened.
“I want the Palestinian Authority to swiftly bring the aggressors to account rather than tolerating them! Pray this morning for the freedom of the Palestinian people from oppression and occupation, urged Abunassar, who also noted that it was “heartwarming” to witness “the solidarity of the majority of the city’s residents, with all their religious and familial components,” supporting the church.
According to Open Doors USA, a U.S.-based organization that monitors Christian persecution, Palestinian Christians often find themselves in conflict with both Israeli authorities and the Muslim-dominated Palestinian Territories.
As a consequence of the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Israelis persecute Palestinian Christians on account of their ethnicity. According to Open Doors, Israel places several limitations on them because of their ethnicity. “Due to the strong ties between family and religion in traditional Palestinian culture, conversion from Islam to Christianity or shifting from one religious denomination to another is socially inappropriate or undesirable. Religious freedom is typically protected by law in the West Bank but not in Gaza.
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