RSS

Category Archives: Christian life

Intimacy with Yeshua is death to “SELF”

Shabbat Letter from

kad-esh

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Shabbat shalom dearly beloved:
I did not plan to write on this topic but the Holy Spirit commanded me to do so. When I say “commanded”, I mean He “nudged me” but for me every prompting of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is a command. Most people relate to the Spirit’s promptings and light whispers so lightly that they can never develop true intimacy with Yeshua. Then they wonder what He is saying to them and why is it that they do not know what their purpose is in the Kingdom! Every time the Holy Spirit prompts me, impresses upon my heart or whispers into my being something to say or do for Him, it encroaches upon my plans, my timings and my ideas or opinions! In other words listening to the Holy Spirit demands self-denial and surrender.

Intimacy with Yeshua is only developed by carefully listening and obeying the promptings of the Holy Spirit and they are very surprising and challenging.

When I say “surprising and challenging” I do not mean that they always cause one to suffer (though often it does as death to “self” can come through suffering. Yeshua learnt obedience by the things that He suffered!) Sometimes the Spirit prompts us to do enjoyable things for ourselves like shopping or going to the spa and sometimes it leads us to do wonderful things for others, nevertheless it is always something we did not think about!

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

I remember when I was freshly married and ordained to the Ministry, the Ruach (Spirit) gave me a dream and in that dream I had another haircut (my hair was long and quite old fashioned at that time) and a much more modern frame in my eye glasses. I was very surprised when I woke up to the clear realization that my Abba was “styling me” Himself! I promptly went to the hair dresser that cut my hair in the exact shape I saw in that dream, the exact same style that I have until this day! I know that “hair” doesn’t seem to be such an important thing but when you lose it or when it does not look nice you realize that YHVH gave us hair for a purpose! And what a blessing this has been! The Holy Spirit style of hairdo that He gave me is so easy to keep looking good that in spite of my many ministry trips I did not have the need to visit the hair salon too frequently! He really thinks about everything!

Intimacy with Yeshua means that He has access to every area of my life! Hair included

You are My friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14

Every time that I ignored a “prompting” or disregarded it because of insecurity, fear or laziness I ended in the “ditch” or in distress, missing something or making mistakes! I always regret it terribly when I was dull to Yah’s promptings!

I noticed that people ignore His whispers when it is “importune” (would “mess” our plans altogether) or when it seemed like a trifle or non-important. But when the Holy Spirit impresses us to do or say something it is never “trivial”. It is always IMPORTANT and it always makes a huge difference!

. John 16:13  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come

I remember many years ago I was leading a meeting in our home in the Mountains of Jerusalem. This was a prophetic meeting and I was training this particular group of believers to move in the Prophetic Gifts as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. Everyone was encouraged to stir up their spirits by praying in the Spirit (in tongues see Jude 20) to build up their faith and to listen from the Holy Spirit. Then each one had to bless their appointed partner-brother or sister with a Prophetic Word. Everyone seemed to be flowing wonderfully! But then I saw a lady that was doing nothing. I asked her about this and she said to me: “I get nothing from the Lord to say!” I told her that I don’t believe it! For from my experience YHVH always is ready to speak something to His Creation! In fact He starts the whole Bible with “Elohim said….”

Then Elohim said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1:3

And ever since, He is saying. He is always looking for a channel through whom He can speak. In fact one time there were no people and He had to use a donkey!

And YHVH opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Numbers 22:28

I told the sister, you surely have one word in your spirit? She said: “But it is nothing it does not mean anything!” I said: “GO ahead and give it!” she looked at her partner in this Prophetic Exercise and said “POPCORN!” Well the moment her partner heard the word “popcorn” she broke out weeping! You see the Holy Spirit immediately gave her revelation that her gifts and dreams had been dry like popcorn but soon with hot oil (anointing!) of the Holy Spirit – they will break open and will come to fruition! The word “popcorn” triggered in her this powerful and encouraging revelation! In fact this sister is now with Yeshua in Heaven and she is probably smiling from the Cloud of Witnesses for this one, seemingly insignificant word “popcorn” in a seemingly non important meeting in the Mountains of Jerusalem accompanied for many years to come and encouraged her in her earthly walk!

Never, never disregard ANY word, small or big that the Holy Spirit impresses upon you.
But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. Isaiah 66:2b

Of course there are other times when the words spoken by the Spirit may make tremendous demands on your life! Such was the instruction that I received from the Holy Spirit at the start of my walk with Him. I was a few months old in the faith and the Ruach sent me to the UK. When I was there and staying with some precious pastors YHVH visited me and changed the course of my life and the life of many thousands forever! I was still very wounded from the ravages of sin and personal family tragedy! My two beautiful children of the tender age of 18 months and 5 were not in my custody after a painful divorce. My heart was broken for my children and yet I could not have them. While in the UK I worked as a nanny and was great at it as I gave to the other people’s children what I would have given to mine that were far away from me in Israel! The time in the UK was a time of deep discipleship and personal restoration. Our wise Elohim knew exactly what I needed! Then one day He surprised me with a most uncommon demand.

I was listening to a tape by a very well- known Bible Teacher and lover of Israel by the name of Derek Prince. He was preaching about Apostolic Ministry and being “sent out”. Then He gave an altar call asking who was willing to be “Sent Out” and to “Go” for the Kingdom. My heart was making flip-flops! I had been thinking lately that I would like to go to Bible School and to serve Yeshua full time but it did not look possible! It was a dream that I forced myself to die to. Then when this preacher gave the altar call I wanted to jump and say: HINENI! (Here I am) like Isaiah. I felt the Spirit pressing me to stand, but my thoughts were arguing “How can I answer such a Call, and what does it all mean? Will I ever be able to see my children if I am “sent out”? So for the sake of some sort of motherhood (even if a visiting mother at this point), I decided to deny the promptings of the Spirit and not to stand up before the Tape Recorder and the teaching tape! I stayed seated! However I felt like I was going to die! I was grief stricken! I had grieved the Holy Spirit!

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

I realized that I had sinned and begged Him to forgive me for putting motherhood and my children above Him and His High Calling! I begged Him to give me a second chance! I rewound the tape and listened to the altar call again! This time I jumped promptly to my feet and said “HINENI”, I will GO, I will be sent out! Indeed Apostolic Ministry has demanded everything from me and very often I could not see my children for long periods of time. One time for over three years! The price was high and it still is but Yeshua is really all that matters! At the end of the day it is only that obedience born of intimacy with Him that really bears fruit! Many thousands have been and are being touched daily all over the world since I said YES to the Spirit concerning Apostolic Ministry! Many have been saved, healed, delivered and discipled and they in turn are blessing others!

Whenever the Holy Spirit tells us to do something for the King against all odds it will bear Eternal Fruit! Sometimes you will only know much later or in Heaven how effective your service to Yeshua was but never doubt its effectiveness and importance!

What originates with Him, always succeeds if we are faithful to keep walking in intimacy and obeying His promptings for a lifetime!

He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over thenations. Revelation 2:26

About a month earlier than my UK experience, on the other side of the globe, in Israel, the conference took place in Jerusalem where Derek Prince preached this message that was challenging me! A handsome man by the name of Baruch Bierman in attendance prompted by the same Holy Spirit answered the Call to be sent out to the nations! About a year later Rabbi Baruch and I were married having answered the exact same Call with the exact same message and preacher without knowing about each other! Yah does all things PERFECTLY!

For we are His workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

It is never too late to start! Even the “smallest” of Calls makes a GREAT difference! Not everyone is called as an Apostle or to be a leader in a ministry. Some are called to SUPORT a Ministry or a Minister. But every gift and call that originates from YHVH is urgently needed to advance His Kingdom! He gave me a second chance to answer His Call! Maybe you need one too? If so go before Him today and ask Him to forgive you for considering your plans, circumstances, needs or loved ones above His Call and for giving Him excuses. Then go ahead and present yourself before Him.

Answer the Call and keep on answering as you obey even the lightest promptings of the Holy Spirit! Your life and the world will never be the same after you DO!

Do not quench the Spirit’s Fire” 1 Thessalonians 5:19

biermanssjaljp

Your Friends and Mentors in Israel,
Bishop Dominiquae and Rabbi Baruch Bierman
“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent” Isaiah 62:1

Follow Bishop Dominiquae on Twitter, Facebook and IGPM Prayer Blog Today!

  https://twitter.com/KadMap 
http://www.facebook.com/dominiquae.bierman?fref=ts

 

http://israelgpm.wordpress.com/ 

SPONSOR A GRM STUDENT IN AFRICA
One of our students and ordained ministers in Congo has 23 students ready to start studies. He says that many more are interested. We are asking our friends and partners to sponsor a whole year of studies for one student including videos, books and workbooks -$220
Click on donations on www.kad-esh.org and earmark it GRM Africa

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Helping the Lame to Walk

In his earthly ministry, Yeshua focused on comforting and healing the disabled of Israel; Shalva wants to give that same opportunity to Yeshua’s followers today

Monday, December 03, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

121203_shalva1_bigA recurring theme of Yeshua’s earthly ministry was the comfort and healing of the disabled. He did this both as a sign for the unbelieving, and out of deep compassion for the afflicted. It is appropriate for those of Yeshua’s followers who love and support Israel to follow His example by likewise paying special attention to disabled Israelis.

Shalva, a unique Israeli organization dedicated to empowering handicapped children, has recognized this special love Christians have for the Jewish state and its people, and is reaching out for help.

Founded in 1990 by Kalman and Malki Samuels after their own son, Yossi, was struck blind, deaf and acutely hyperactive by defective vaccinations, Shalva is today “a leader in the field of disability awareness and intervention.”

Shalva boasts a wide array of programs providing care and assistance all the way from birth to age 21. But more importantly, Shalva has assembled a team that works tirelessly to create individual curricula fitting the needs of each child.

“At one-year-old, Miriam refused to eat solid food and was not gaining weight. She had a hard time participating in daily activities, at the day care and at home, and did not move around much,” Shalva speech therapist Talia Cole told Israel Today. “Miriam’s teachers and therapists met multiple times a week to brainstorm an intervention method, incorporating each of their therapeutic knowledge, to help Miriam overcome this obstacle. After months of hard work, Miriam now eats a variety of solid foods, is communicating, moving and getting chubbier by the day!”

Shalva also views as part of its mission taking some of the burden off those parents who have gone against the social grain by choosing life “despite a grim prognosis.”

“The staff at Shalva [has become] my own support system. They always are happy to see me, ask how I am doing and treat me like family,” said Dassie Corman, whose son, Ephraim, has Down syndrome.

It is a sad irony that Israel is home to such caring organizations as Shalva, while at the same time Israeli society all but expects mothers to abort children who will be born with “special needs.”

“Very few babies who are suspected of having a mental or physical disability are brought to term. In fact, 9 out of 10 babies with Down syndrome are aborted,” according to a statement released by Shalva. “Where the world would chose to terminate these lives, Shalva is an organization that celebrates these children…[in keeping with] the biblical command to regard the weak and the feeble.”

“It is very holy and very biblical to help those who are struggling or downtrodden,” Kalman Samuels told Israel Today. But as awareness in Israel (slowly) grows that disabled children also deserve life, Shalva has found itself in need of additional backing to expand its activities.

“We have hundreds of kids waiting to get into our programs who we cannot service. And there are hundreds beyond that in need of our services,” said Samuels, as he described the $46-million facility Shalva intends to build. “Insofar as the Christian community is very supportive of Israel, we believe they will also find us worthy of their support.”

Even before it has all the resources needed to operate at full capacity, Shalva is already giving back beyond its primary work with disabled Israeli children. When the McLean Bible Church in Virginia was looking to establish a similar ministry called Jill’s House, Shalva was there lend its expertise.

“Staff from McLean came to Shalva and trained alongside our professionals in order to replicate the work in their church,” said Samuels. “We visited on several occasions, they visited us, and they give us full credit for concept and training, which we provided free of charge.”

During a recent visit to Shalva’s Jerusalem center, President Shimon Peres summed up the situation well: “All those who criticize Israel should come to Shalva and witness the other side of Israel. The most noble, loving, and caring Israel. I am proud to be part of this Israel.”

To learn more about Shalva: www.shalva.org

 
 

Tags: , ,

Shabbat Shalom and a blessed week-end

 

Torah reading

Deuteronomy 7:12 – 11:25

Isaiah 49:14 – 51:3

Romans 8:31 – 39

  

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 10. August 2012 in Christian life, Messiah, Shabbat, Yeshua, YHVH

 

Tags: , , ,

From Islam to Christianity – Apostasy that Enlightens – Part II

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 | Elizabeth Blade – israeltoday.co.il

This is Part II of a three-part story on Muslims converting to Christianity. If you have not done so already, we suggest first reading From Islam to Christianity – Apostasy that Enlightens – Part I

“The reasons to leaving Islam are manifold,” said Reuven Paz, a researcher specializing in Islam and radical Islamic movements at Interdisciplinary Center in Herzeliya. “Most people do so because they marry Christian spouses. Others – especially in the US and Europe – opt for Christianity to blend with the majority and become part of the new culture, and yet others – mostly in Africa – simply follow their tribe’s chief,” he argued.

But there are some whose motivation had deeper roots. Jamal Jivanjee, the Executive Director of Illuminate-US, a website dedicated to spreading the message of Christianity, said he left Islam at the age of 18, enchanted by Christ’s unconditional love.

“Being born and raised in the US, my father insisted on raising me as a Muslim. Despite being a pious man, he was empty. Islam had never been able to turn him into a happy man,” said Jivanjee, emphasizing that his father’s subsequent conversion brought him the peace he had always longed for. “After my father learned of my decision to become a Christian, he initially felt like a failure, blaming himself for failing to do enough to turn me into a devoted Muslim. But when he saw my eyes and the change in my attitude towards people and life, he accepted it,” he explained.

Unlike Jivanjee, whose conversion was sparked by sheer curiosity, others were motivated by a more acute urge. “The turning point happened to me in America when I went to a mosque and was told not assimilate because a Muslim’s mission is to Islamize the country. I left the mosque and never went back,” said Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian born writer, author of “The Devil We don’t Know; the dark side of revolutions in the Middle East”. “It took me many years to see the truth about the religion I was born in; a religion that encourages hatred, lies, slander, killing and terrorism – all in the name of Allah,” she continued.

Leaving Islam – or apostasy – is punishable by death; and even though some say the Islamic Holy Scripture, the Quran, doesn’t mention it explicitly, scholars have found evidence of implicit support for such a severe penalty. Similarly, there are numerous authentic religious texts ascribed to the prophet Mohammed that also support this claim.

However, some scholars say that the death penalty is a fanatical interpretation of the book, with the violence usually deriving from family members and radical elements rather than Islamic authorities. “Since the conversion is illegal, it’s usually expressed in violence (especially towards women). At the same time, many secular Muslims don’t view apostasy as something forbidden because Jesus is also a Muslim prophet,” reasoned Paz.

“The death penalty is typical of extremists – a group of educated people, who studied Islam by themselves,” he argued, referring to such individuals as Osama Bin Laden or Al-Qaeeda’s second in command, Ayman Al-Zawahiri. “Most Islamic clerics oppose conversion but they would not order the execution of a person who converted. Fanatics are a different case; for them Islam should encompass the entire world,” he continued.

Some Muslim scholars agree. Rayed Habib, a Palestinian cleric, who preaches in one of Bethlehem’s mosques, said Islam is a peaceful religion that objects to the murder of apostates. “Killing is a sin; it is forbidden in the Quran,” he told Israel Today. “Apostasy is wrong but that doesn’t mean we have to kill those people, especially since there is no law in Islam that orders us to do so,” he explained.

Habib also said that conversions don’t take place in Palestine. “There was only one person, who did it,” he told the magazine, referring to the son of Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef, “but he left to America because he feared radicals would kill his father. Other than him, nobody does it,” he claimed. If Habib’s claim about zero conversions is correct, it may suggest that they are not exactly tolerated, even if they aren’t punishable by death.

The internet is rife with cases of persecuted former Muslims in the Palestinian Authority, indicating that Yousef’s conversion is far from a rare phenomenon. In 2003, for example, a missing convert to Christianity was returned to his family, slaughtered and cut into pieces by Muslims. In a similar case that took place in 2005, another convert was shot dead by masked gunmen.

Similar expressions of violence and murder have been documented in many other countries, including Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Austria, Germany, the USA, and others.

But as Habib pointed out, it’s unfair to blame Islam for all the atrocities, stressing that other religions are far from perfect. Indeed, the conquest of Canaan by the Hebrews and the Crusades took thousands of innocent lives. But, unlike in Islam, historic violence has never been codified into the Jewish law. In Christianity, parts of the Old Testament that encouraged violence were subsequently replaced by Jesus’ approach of unconditional love, teaching people to “turn the other cheek” instead of fighting to extract an “eye for an eye” retribution. As far as the Crusades are concerned, many experts view them as a counterattack to the deeds of Abu Ali Mansur Tariqul-Hakim, accused of destroying a number of important churches.

Therefore, some say, that it is Islam, rather than other religions, that preaches intolerance and violence towards non-Muslims.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the third and final part of this story

 

Tags: , ,

From Islam to Christianity – Apostasy that Enlightens – Part I

The recent conversion of two Gaza Christians to Islam made major waves, but the truth is that far more Muslims are turning to Christ every year, to the consternation of the imams

Monday, July 30, 2012 – Elizabeth Blade – israeltoday.co.il

 

In January 2012, Gatestone Institute, an international policy council and think tank, reported that more than one hundred thousand converts to Islam reside in the UK alone. France is rapidly catching up with its neighbor, listing some 70,000 new adherents of the religion; with Spain and Germany also witnessing a wave of conversions as 50,000 and 20,000 people (respectively) adopted Islam in the past several years.

Hailed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s fastest growing religion, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life backs this fact with impressive statistics.

Currently counting some 1.6 billion people worldwide, the population of Muslims is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, totaling 2.2 billion by 2030. In twenty years’ time, experts estimated, the US will be home to some 6.2 million Muslims (compared to 2.6 million in 2010), whereas Europe will have 58.2 million, up from 44.1 million.

Yet the report concluded that the expected growth is explained primarily by high fertility rates among Muslims, immigration to the Americas and Europe, as well as an increase in life expectancy rather than conversion.

Nevertheless, despite the noteworthy statistics, Islam’s spread pales in significance when compared to the numbers leaving the religion for Christianity.

The issue was first raised in 2003 by Qatar’s news channel Al-Jazeera, which aired an interview with Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani, the president of The Companions Lighthouse for the Science of Islamic Law, a Muslim preacher-training center in Libya. “Every year, 6 million Muslims become Christians [in Africa alone],” said the man, believed to be an expert on evangelization and Christianization. “What used to be a majority religion is now turning into minority,” complained the cleric, pointing a blaming finger at the western missionaries, who take advantage of people’s poverty and ignorance to lure them into a new religion.

Though his number may be exaggerated, it is consistent with the general trend. A study published in 2010 by the Pew Forum established that Christians outnumber Muslims by 2 to 1, with the number of adherents to Christianity in sub-Saharan Africa growing from seven million in 1900 to 470 million today.

In a bid to explain the phenomenon, the World Christian Encyclopedia claimed Christianity received about 2,883,011 converts between 1990 and 2000. But Pew’s study arrived at a different conclusion. The survey, conducted in 19 nations in sub-Saharan Africa in 2009, showed that “neither Christianity, nor Islam was growing significantly at the expense of the other through religious conversions.” The study emphasized that “there was no substantial net gain or loss in the number of adherents to Islam globally.”

At the same time, as more Muslims choose Christianity as their adopted belief system, some experts wonder about the causes underlying this phenomenon.

Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part II of this story

 

Tags: , ,

Modern Day Exodus: the Palestinian Christians – Part III

Fearful of offending Muslims, mistreated Palestinian Christians vent their frustration at Israel’s Jews, though the Jewish state could also do more to help the Christians

Thursday, June 28, 2012 | Eugenia Ugrinovich – israeltoday.co.il

This is the thrid and final part of our story on the modern day exodus of Christians from Palestinian-controlled territories. If you have not done so already, we suggest first reading Part I and Part II

In an attempt to protect their fragile community, Christians have decided to maintain a low profile, which may explain why so many of them have adopted a code of silence that precludes saying or doing anything that might critique or challenge the prevailing system or Islam more generally. Unable — or unwilling — to name the real culprits, Palestinian Christians often redirect their anger at Muslims by blaming the Jews.

In a 2006 poll of Christians in Bethlehem, conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Research and Cultural Dialogue, 73.3 percent agreed that the Palestinian Authority treated the city’s Christian heritage with respect, whereas 78% attributed the ongoing exodus of Christians from Bethlehem to the Israeli ‘occupation’ and its repercussions.

These attitudes clearly ignore the flight of Christians before 1967, when the ‘occupation’ began. According to a 1937 British report submitted to the League of Nations, the number of Christians under the British Mandate comprised somewhere between 9.5% (1922) to 7.9% (1946) of the total population. The significant decrease took place during the 19 years of the Jordanian occupation of east Jerusalem when the area lost some 18,000 Christian residents (from 29,000 in 1948 to 11,000 in 1967).

By comparison, the total number of Christians living in both Israel and the West Bank has gone up from 34,000 in 1949 to more than 150,000 today, and this figure continues to grow at an annual average growth rate of 1.9 percent per year. Even though the percentage of Christians in the State of Israel has slightly declined, Christians still fare extremely well.

And yet, despite the relatively free and prosperous life offered to Christians by the state of Israel, it’s impossible to rule out the negative impact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has had on Christians opting to flee the West Bank and Gaza.

“People want to lead a decent and dignified life — especially the younger generation,” said Hanan, a Christian Palestinian residing in the West Bank who also requested that her real name not be used.

“It’s very difficult to live without a job, without having any opportunities to succeed or without the ability to move freely,” she continued referring to the numerous checkpoints and the wall built by Israel in 2003 to protect its citizens from the terrorist attacks that frequently targeted Israeli citizens during the Second Intifida.

While Israel’s defensive measures virtually eliminated the theat of suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks from the West Bank, Peter agreed about the adverse effects of the conflict on Palestinian Christians: “People don’t want their kids to grow up in such an unhealthy environment, where the conflict is brewing and where unemployed families cannot provide food for their children.”

It is hard to determine exactly who is responsible for the departure of Christians from Palestine — whether the raging conflict or the looming Islamist threat — but the truth may lie somewhere in the middle. The US State Department’s 2006 report on religious freedom criticized both Israel, for its restrictions on travel to Christian holy sites, and the Palestinian Authority, for its failure to stamp out anti-Christian crime. It also reported that the former gives preferential treatment in basic civic services to Jews and the latter does so to Muslims.

“It’s not only one factor that influences the flight of Christians. Families want to have a good life and a stable future for their children,” said Hanan. “The persecution when — and if — it does take place is based primarily on personal disputes. Yet, police and special forces have become more organized and they are efficient in solving these issues,” she concluded.

While the complete story behind the departure of Christians from their ancestral land may not be easy to determine, one thing became abundantly clear from researching this article: as vulnerable, second-class citizens, Christians have learned the hard way to be extremely careful.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Modern Day Exodus: the Palestinian Christians – Part II

The Palestinian Authority claims it protects the rights and freedoms of local Christians, but is that the reality on the ground? The truth is that Sharia reigns, and Palestinian Christians are subject to it

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | Eugenia Ugrinovich – israeltoday.co.il

This is Part II of a three-part story on the modern day exodus of Christians from Palestinian-controlled territories. If you have not done so already, we suggest first reading Modern Day Exodus: the Palestinian Christians – Part I

Violent incidents have contributed to a sense of insecurity among the Christian community in the West Bank. In 2006, Palestinians wielding guns and firebombs attacked five churches of various denominations in the West Bank and Gaza, following remarks by Pope Benedict XVI that angered many Muslims. Although no injuries were reported, the buildings suffered significant damage.

The plight of Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip is far worse. The Coalition for Responsible Peace in the Middle East, an NGO that monitors the abuse of Christians, has compiled a long list of violent acts directed against this vulnerable minority in Gaza. These include the 2007 attack on a monastery and school, when armed, masked men destroyed crosses and holy books, and stole computers and photocopy machines. During another rampage the same year, a gang of unidentified men ransacked the Latin Church and Rosary Sisters School, stealing a number of computers and ravaging pictures of Jesus, furniture, equipment, and holy books.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who controls only the West Bank after Hamas, an Islamist political rival, seized power in the Gaza Strip in a 2007 coup, condemned the attacks against Christians. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also criticised the strikes, but ultimately the opposing leaders simply blamed each other instead of solving the problem and securing the population.

Muslim clerics added fuel to the fire, warning minorities to abide by Islamic law or face harsh consequences.

“Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public,” Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadiya Salafiya, was quoted by World Net Daily as saying. “Also, the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped. If it goes on, we’ll attack these things very harshly.”

These types of problems have been reported since the beginning of the previous century. In his detailed paper ‘The Beleaguered Christians of the Palestinian-Controlled Areas’, strategy consultant David Raab noted:

“Under Islam, Christians are considered dhimmi, tolerated but second class citizens, who are afforded protection. Dhimmitude… is a ‘protection pact’ that suspends the [Muslim] conqueror’s initial right to kill or enslave [Jews and Christians], provided they submitted themselves to pay tribute.”

Raab highlighted several instances observed by early European travelers to the Holy Land, who testified that “a dhimmi must not come face to face with a Muslim in the street but pass him to the left, the impure side,” and described how Christians were forbidden to ride on a mount in town (to avoid being higher than Muslims) or to wear bright clothes.

Yet, Muslim leaders refute any allegations of Christian-Muslim strife. In a phone interview, one member of Fatah, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted: “Muslims and Christians have no problems”.

Officially, that is true and the PA spares no effort to display this image publicly. Christmas is an official holiday, holy sites are protected, and some Christians even hold prominent PA positions. In practice, however, PA law does little to protect religious freedom.

While stressing that all Palestinians have the right to “worship and practice their beliefs,” a PA Information Ministry statement reveals the harsh reality: “The Palestinian people are also governed by [Islamic] Shari’a law…with regard to issues pertaining to religious matters. According to Shari’a Law, applicable throughout the Muslim world, any Muslim, who [converts] or declares becoming an unbeliever is committing a major sin punishable by capital punishment…the [Palestinian Authority] cannot take a different position on this matter.”

Be sure to check back tomorrow for the third and final part of this story

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: