Sunday, December 17, 2006

Muslim Persecution of Christians in the Holy Land

As the world bends over backward to make sure Muslims dont feel they are being offended or persecuted, we see that obviously many muslims arent worried about the feelings of Christians living among. This story is about Christians in Bethlhem, the birthplace of Christ.

O, Muslim town of Bethlehem...
Dec. 16,2006.

All is quiet in Bethlehem. On Manger Square, the Church of the Nativity stands in the pale gloom of dusk, its doors open to passing pilgrims.

But inside, the nave is empty of visitors and the collection boxes depleted of coins.

In the candlelit grotto downstairs, a silver star marks the spot where Jesus is supposed to have been born.

It is one of the most sacred sites in Christendom, but there are no tourists queuing to see it.

Just 500 yards down the road, Joseph Canawati is not looking forward to Christmas.

The expansive lobby of his 77-room Hotel Alexander is empty and he says: "There is no hope for the future of the Christian community.

"We don't think things are going to get better. For us, it is finished."

Life for Palestinian Christians such as 50-year-old Joseph has become increasingly difficult in Bethlehem - and many of them are leaving.

The town's Christian population has dwindled from more than 85 per cent in 1948 to 12 per cent of its 60,000 inhabitants in 2006.

There are reports of religious persecution, in the form of murders, beatings and land grabs.

Meanwhile, the breakdown in security is putting off tourists, leading to economic hardship for Christians, who own most of the town's hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops.

The situation has become so desperate that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, are to lead a joint delegation to Bethlehem this week to express their solidarity with the beleaguered Christian populace.

The town, according to the Cardinal, is being "steadily strangled".

The sense of a creeping Islamic fundamentalism is all around in Bethlehem.

...(Story continues here)

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