Prominent Christian Stabbed & Shot Dead in Hamastan
Months ago his Christian library was burned to the ground by Islamists angry over the Mohammad cartoons.
This weekend Rami Khader Ayyad was shot and stabbed to death in Gaza.
He was martyred because of his Christian faith.
Palestinian mourners gather around the body of Rami Khader Ayyad in a church during his funeral in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007. Unknown assailants killed Khader, a Christian activist, and dumped his body on a Gaza City street, Palestinian officials said Sunday, sending a shudder of fear through Gaza’s tiny Christian community. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
The killing of a prominent Palestinian Christian activist on Sunday sent a shudder of fear through the Gaza Strip’s tiny Christian community, which is feeling increasingly insecure since the Islamic Hamas seized control there last summer.
The body of Rami Khader Ayyad, the 32-year-old director of Gaza’s only Christian bookstore, was found on a Gaza City street early Sunday. The body bore a visible gunshot wound to the head, and an official at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital said he was also stabbed numerous times. Ayyad had been missing since Saturday afternoon.
Ayyad’s store, the Teacher’s Bookshop, is associated with a Christian group called the Palestinian Bible Society. Ayyad regularly received anonymous death threats from people angry about his perceived missionary work, a rarity among Gaza’s Christians, and in April, the bookstore was firebombed.
“We feel Rami was killed for his Christian faith,” said Simon Azazian, a spokesman at the Bible Society’s head office in Jerusalem.
About 3,200 Christians live in Gaza among 1.4 million Muslims. While Christians and Muslims have generally gotten along over the years, Christians have grown uneasy since Hamas routed forces of the secular Fatah movement and seized control of Gaza in June. During the takeover, vandals ransacked a Roman Catholic convent and an adjacent school, breaking crosses and smashing the face of a ceramic Jesus.
Mourners gather during the funeral of Palestinian Rami Khader Ayyad at a church in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007. (AP Photo)
Ayyad’s library in downtown Gaza City, which serves the salient’s tiny Christian community, was burned down several months ago by Islamic extremists, as part of protests against drawings of the Prophet Mohammed which appeared in several European newspapers- Earth Times.
Khaled Abu Toameh at The Jerusalem Post has more on the murder this weekend.
Last month an 80 year old Christian woman was robbed and beaten beaten by assailants in Gaza.