|Hamas gunmen torch YMCA centre in Gaza|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Monday, 11 September 2006 00:00|
Ever since the election of Hamas to the Palestinian Authority, Christians and Jews have found it increasingly difficult to live in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has declared their desires to turn the region into a Sharia-state, not by force apparently, but by the will of the people. In other words every person living in Gaza, whether Islamic or not, will have to abide by the laws of the Qur'an. And it seems the will of Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh's thugs is that Sharia law be enforced. Hamas have been persecuting Christians and Jews for years, in an attempt to drive them out of the region, and that strategy has largely been effective. I mentioned a few months ago how Bethlehem, which once had a Christian population of 90%, after 10 years of PA rule now stands at 25%. Part of the reason for this drop is the persecution many non-Muslims now face living in what has become a state governed by a terrorist organization. The YMCA centre in Qalqiliya has come under attack numerous times. They also drew up a petition to present to Hamas, threatening violence unless the office of the YMCA were shut down. "The act of these institutions of the YMCA, including attempting to convert Muslims in our city, will bring violence and tension". Any Muslim who converts to Christianity automatically faces the death sentence under Sharia law, as the whole world witnessed with the Afghan convert earlier in the year. Imams subsequently called on the Muslim population to revolt against the YMCA, and as a result the centre was attacked with firebombs.
Quote: "Local government sources identified the attackers as members of the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups, saying the identities of the gunmen are "well known" to Qalqiliya's security forces, which are controlled by the Hamas government. Saturday's arson follows a series of warnings by the Muslim leadership of Qalqiliya accusing the city's YMCA of missionary activity and demanding the Christian organization close its offices and leave town or face likely Muslim violence. According to local reports, the gunmen Saturday afternoon destroyed the locks on the YMCA's entrance gates, crushed the gates, then entered the building and set it ablaze. Local fire brigades reportedly rushed to the scene and stopped the fire before it spread to neighboring buildings. The building sustained serious damage, YMCA officials said. Qalqiliya police say they opened an investigation into the incident and would hunt down and arrest the attackers.
Source YNet News