For fear of You Know Who. Islamic Tolerance Alert from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
…MATT BROWN: It’s a small, tight-knit community in one of the world’s most intense hot spots. 3000 Christians live amongst 1.5 million Muslims, and the two groups usually get along well.
FATHER ARCHEMANDRITE ARTEMIOUS, GAZA GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH: We don’t talk about friendship, we talk about brothership. Both of them are Palestinians but with different religions. Same blood, same nationality.
MATT BROWN: But lately, dark forces have been shadowing the Christians of the Gaza strip. The worshippers have been rocked by a murder.
FATHER ARCHEMANDRITE ARTEMIOUS: Afraid, very sad, they have a lot of questions.
MATT BROWN: Anisa Ayyad’s son, Rami, has been killed. He was a prominent and vocal advocate for his faith. Ramzi Ayyad believes his brother was killed by a radical Muslim.
RAMZI AYAD, BROTHER (translated): Rami was well known in the Christian society as a very strong believer. He spent most of his time in the Church praying and teaching others, so he stood out.
MATT BROWN: In the lead up to the murder, Christians were targeted in a string of escalating attacks. And Christians and Muslims alike have been alarmed.
FATHER ARCHEMANDRITE ARTEMIOUS: For Christians, after what happened to Rami, so they are afraid to be here because they see bombing, then they see shooting, then they see hitting and then they see killing. What is the next one?
MATT BROWN: His family are Greek Orthodox Christians, but Rami Ayyad was a member of the Baptist Church, the only Evangelical Church in the Gaza strip.
When Rami Ayyad was confronted by Islamic radicals, he was warned to convert to Islam or face the judgement of God.
PASTOR HANNA MASSAD, GAZA BAPTIST CHURCH: He told us he would never give up his faith, even if it will cost him his life.
MATT BROWN: The tension was mounting. Then, finally, Rami Ayyad was stalked, kidnapped and killed.
PASTOR HANNA MASSAD: We believe it’s because of his faith. They, the militant group who didn’t like Christian and they tried to put pressure on him and when he continued to hold to his faith, they killed him.
MATT BROWN: The Islamist militant group, Hamas, seized control of Gaza in June and the eyes of the world have been upon them ever since. Hamas is more moderate than groups like al-Qaeda or the Taliban and it promised to safeguard the Christian minority. So it was alarmed at the message the execution of such a well known Christian could send.
AHMAD YUSSUF, HAMAS SPOKESMAN: Killing somebody who is a Christian, this will give the impression that there is a divide between the Muslims and the Christians and Hamas started it in Christian.
MATT BROWN: Some in Gaza believe al-Qaeda inspired radicals have been testing the limits under Hamas. A special team of the Hamas executive force has been ordered to investigate. The trail leads deep into the murky world of Gaza’s gunmen, political factions and crime families. And Hamas has promised a sceptical Christian community it will catch the culprit.
AHMAD YUSSUF: He must go to justice and must be punished on his criminal act.
FATHER ARCHEMANDRITE ARTEMIOUS: For now, we’re waiting. As they promised, that they’ll find (inaudible) that killed Rami. So we’re waiting.
MATT BROWN: Many Christians say there’s a growing intolerant Islamist sentiment in Gaza, one Hamas has failed to quash. Church leaders complain that Hamas hasn’t done enough to counter anti Christian incitement in the prayer rooms of Gaza’s mosques….
Failed to quash? Why would they want to quash it? They want it to grow.