From the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Nicolei:
Tensions are running high in Bethlehem after members of a local Christian family accused a Muslim man of kidnapping their 16-year-old daughter. The girl, who holds US citizenship, was rescued with the help of American diplomats.
At least 35 Christians have been injured during clashes related to the incident with Palestinian Authority policemen in the past few days. One of the injured men was treated in a Jerusalem hospital.
The Christians are demanding that the PA security forces arrest and bring to trial the alleged kidnapper. On Saturday night, PA policemen fired in the air to disperse a large crowd of protesters who tried to attack the man’s house.
The incident in Bethlehem comes only days after a Christian man from Ramallah brutally murdered his daughter because she had expressed her desire to marry a Muslim. The victim was identified as Faten Habash, 20. She was murdered on the same day that a Jerusalem man strangled to death his two sisters in what has been described as an “honor killing.” A third sister escaped death after the suspect forced her to drink acid and tried to strangle her, too.
Honor killings among Christians are rare, but are unfortunately not unknown. Christians in the Middle East can’t help but be influenced by the dominant culture.
The high-school pupil from Bethlehem, Adrian Sabat, disappeared from her home last Wednesday. Her family lodged a complaint with the PA police, claiming that she had been kidnapped by Fadi Omar, a 24-year-old Muslim, who also lives in the city. Omar, who is closely associated with the PA security forces, has denied the allegation, saying the young girl fled with him on her own volition and with the intention of marrying him.
The PA police, after a preliminary investigation, accepted Omar’s version, claiming that the schoolgirl had even expressed her wish to convert to Islam. When the local police refused to interfere, the family contacted the US Consulate in Jerusalem for help. The family also requested help from Israeli officials and church leaders in Jerusalem.
These suspicious “conversions” to Islam are unfortunately common as well.