27 December, 2006

Religious 'Tolerance', Hamas Style

Not a pretty picture:

This Christmas was the first under a Palestinian Authority controlled by the militant Islamic group Hamas. To alleviate Christian fears, Hamas promised to provide $50,000 for decorating Manger Square in the town's center for the holiday, but it wasn't clear if the money arrived. There were fewer Christmas decorations than in the past, and for the first time no Christmas carols were piped over the loudspeaker system.

...most of those in Manger Square on Sunday were locals. The sprinkling of foreign tourists included a Polish choir and a handful of South Korean pilgrims who gathered to sing carols in a corner of the square, interrupted briefly by the call to prayer from a nearby mosque... In the Gaza Strip, where 3,000 Palestinian Christians live among around 1.4 million Muslims, the head of the tiny Roman Catholic community canceled midnight Mass, citing recent gunbattles between the Fatah and Hamas movements. [emphasis added]
All part of a larger, longer-term exodus... as the Houston Chronicle notes ("Is Christianity dying in the birthplace of Jesus?")
Generations of Salman’s [Christian] ancestors were born and raised in Bethlehem, but her father broke free five years ago for a job as a carpenter in Corpus Christi. Now his daughter will follow and try to smooth the way for her brothers and sisters, who don’t have green cards yet.
As was the case with Jews fleeing Europe in the early decades of the 20th century, the so-called "wisdom of the crowd" (i.e., about difficult but as yet non-catastrophic persecution) may be a forerunner to broader acts of state-sponsored genocide. Lebanon (formerly a thriving Christian country) provides just one sad example.