Gaza (MNN) — The relationship between Hamas and Christians
in the Gaza Strip appears to be deteriorating. First, a brutal murder of 30-year-old Rami Ayyad, Christian bookstore
owner, took place last month.
Ayyad's death came six months after the religious bookshop
he managed was bombed, apparently by Muslim extremists. Earlier in the year, an Awana leader (bus
driver) was shot and killed. A guard at
the church in that attack.
There's now word that militant Hamas member, Ashraf Abu
Layla, is connected to Ayyad's death.
And SAT-7's Terry Ascott says there's
been a report indicating that Christians were forced to support a speech urging the
spread of Islam.
It's no wonder, Ascott surmises, that believers feel like
they're under siege. "Pray for the Bible Society director and all the
Bible Society staff throughout the Palestinian territories, that they wouldn't
be discouraged by this. Pray that the Word of God would continue to be made
available throughout the territories. We
have a strong partnership with the Bible Society, and we very much see what we
do as complimenting their work, by taking Scripture to satellite
That means ministry continues, although the other impact of
this, he explains, is the disruption of
ministry. "The killing of the
bookstore owner who's associated with the Bible Society has led actually to
all the related staff to that shop being evacuated from Gaza. There's just one
person left who could not yet receive permission from the Israeli authorities
to cross out of Gaza."
Pray for the Christian leaders as they find ways to continue
to lead Gaza's remnant church. Pray, too,
that continued outreach will find hearts open to the hope of