Christians living in Gaza City on Monday appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. Many Christians said they were prepared to leave Gaza as soon as the border crossings are reopened. The appeal came following a series of attacks on a Christian school and church in Gaza City over the past few days. Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the small Latin community in Gaza, said masked gunmen torched and looted the Rosary Sisters School and the Latin Church. “The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church,” he said. “Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy Book, computers and other equipment.” Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school. “Those who did these awful things have no respect for Christian-Muslim relations,” he said.
Christians can only continue living safely in Gaza if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza said in an interview. Christians in Gaza who engage in “missionary activity” will be “dealt with harshly,” he said. The threats come two days after a church and Christian school in Gaza were attacked following the seizure of power by the Hamas terror group. “I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza,” said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a “military wing” to enforce Muslim law in Gaza.