Gaza (MNN) — With the brutal murder of a prominent Christian in Gaza this weekend, the Christian community there is fearful and heartbroken.
Rami Ayyad who managed The Teacher's Bookshop in Gaza, was found murdered outside the store early Sunday morning. "It's a tragic loss for the Christian community there in Gaza. It's really facing a very uncertain future," said Carl Moeller of Open Doors USA.
It is still unclear who is responsible, and though investigations are underway, Moeller says the answers won't come quickly, if at all. "Everyone's denouncing it, but
somebody did it," he said.
Christians are rightfully afraid, according to Moeller. "The reality is, it's targeted at the Christian community, and the most visible symbol of the Christian community there
in Gaza for a reason. They want the Christians to get the message and to leave," he said. According to Moeller, the attack was no surprise after several threats and an attack in the past.
There are between 3,000 and 5,000 Christians in Gaza among approximately 1.5 million Muslims. Continuing instability racks Gaza, causing many Christians to flee to more hospitable areas if the opportunity arises. However, Moeller believes it is essential
that Christians stay.
"In the midst of all of the fighting between radical Islam and Israel, the Christian community sits as a beacon of hope and peace. And if it gets squeezed out completely from that
place, well, where will the peace come from?" said Moeller.
Despite the spotlight this tragedy places on the bookstore, believers in the community are committed to keeping it open. Not only did it offer books, but reading and computer lessons were offered as
Open Doors provides direct resources to the Christian community in Gaza. This includes
Christian literature as well as basic needs such as food and clothing which strengthens the small but remaining community.
Moeller says it is important to remember that there still is a church in Gaza and that they need prayer.