Christians caught in crossfire in Gaza upheaval

By June 25, 2007

Gaza (MNN) — As Hamas and Fatah factions battled for control of Gaza, a Christian school and church near a major security headquarters were targeted by militants. Glenn Penner of  Voice of the Martyrs-Canada describes the scene. "Some books were burned, computers were stolen, and some furniture was destroyed, so believers are concerned also about acts of vandalism. They have received threats from some more radical elements that if they don't stop their Christian activities, they could see even more violence."

Penner suggests the attack may have been an attempt to get the Christians involved in the struggle between the two Muslim factions. Christians in Palestine have been frequently caught in the middle of the conflict between Israel and the Islamic elements controlling the Palestinian authority. Rejected by Israel because they are Palestinian, they also face difficulties from the militant Islamic groups active in Palestine.

However, Penner urges the remnant body of Christ to stay put. "The big concern and the big temptation is to flee. That's not wholly without merit. But if all the believers leave an area, there's no Gospel witness left there."

Christians are awaiting signs of what the future may hold. Penner says there's much to pray about in the days ahead. "Things have settled down to a degree. Unfortunately, the group that has taken control, Hamas, is a far more militant organization, and time is only going to tell just how much they're going to implement Sharia law in Gaza. Things are certainly going to be better for believers in the West Bank, which is under the control of Fatah." Pray that Christians will be free to worship in Gaza without fear. Pray for peace in the region.

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