The Lebanese experiment of Muslims and Christians living and governing together appears to have failed. Now, with Hamas controlling the Gaza Strip, there is concern that Christians there will have no choice but to flee.
Broken crucifixes and shards from a Jesus statue have been swept up, but Gaza’s tiny Christian community says the violent warning sent by Islamic militants cannot be erased.
The ransacking of Gaza’s Catholic convent and an adjacent Rosary Sisters school during Hamas’ sweep to power this month broke more than wood and plaster: it signaled the end of a relatively peaceful, even if sometimes uneasy relationship between Gaza’s 1.4 million Muslims and 3,000 Christians.
Despite Hamas promises of protection, Christians fear more attacks, and some say they want to leave. Gaza’s flock has already been hit hard by emigration in recent years, and a new exodus could effectively wipe out one of the Arab world’s tiniest and oldest Christian communities.
“We don’t trust them (Hamas). Our time is coming,” said a Greek Orthodox Christian.