Hamas digging up Christian graves in Gaza, claims rights group

Sunday, December 13, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

The leader of a Christian human rights group who arrived in Israel on Sunday claimed that Hamas is regularly digging up Christian graves in the Gaza Strip and disposing of the bodies of believers in Jesus.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Reverend Majed El Shafie, President of One Free World International (OFWI), asserted that "Hamas digs up the bodies of Christians from Christian burial sites in the Gaza Strip claiming that they pollute the earth."

El Shafie is heading a delegation of human rights activists, Canadian lawmakers and religious personalities, and hopes to enlist Israel's help in combatting the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world.

According to El Shafie, as many as 300 million Christians around the world today live under persecution, 80 percent of them in Muslim nations. Christians living under Palestinian rule periodically speak out regarding the persecution they endure, but for the most part keep silent for fear of their Muslim neighbors. The situation is much worse in the Gaza Strip, where less than 3,000 Christians live among 1.3 million Muslims, than it is in the so-called "West Bank."

El Shafie himself has a history with Israel. Born to a conservative Muslim family in Cairo, El Shafie converted to Christianity in the late 1990s and was subsequently arrested, tortured and condemned to death. He managed to escape to the Sinai Peninsula, and then to Israel, where he was arrested for breaching the border and imprisoned in Beersheva for nearly a year.

Following his imprisonment in Israel, El Shafie obtained political asylum in Canada.

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