Gaza Christians: Forced Conversions

    A Palestinian Christian Huda Al-Amash, right, and her her daughters cry during a rally for the release of her son's Ramez Al-Amash, 25, who was allegedly kidnapped, at a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza City, Monday, July 16, 2012.  Dozens of Christians in predominantly Muslim Gaza have staged a rare protest claiming two members of the community were forcibly converted to Islam and are being held against their will. Gaza police say the two are staying with a Muslim religious official at their request because they fear retribution from their families for having converted to Islam. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

    Adel Hana / AP Photo

    Christians gathered at a the Greek Church of Gaza on Tuesday for a sit-in protesting the persecution of Christians in Gaza by Islamists. Specifically, the group was there on behalf of five Christians they say were kidnapped by Islamists who aimed to convert them to Islam. A day earlier, a protest had been held at the same church to demand that Hamas return the five who were allegedly kidnapped. While family members of the young man, a woman and her three children in question say that a Hamas lawmaker is holding them against their will, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights insisted, via a statement on Tuesday, that the group has seen their family members and are not being forced to change religions—they did so voluntarily. “If my son is not kidnapped, why don’t they just let him go home with me,” asked the mother of the 25-year-old missing man. “My son was brought up as a Christian. His love of Jesus is strong enough to keep him a Christian. He cannot change his beliefs all of a sudden.” Officials maintain that the people are under police protection while staying with a Muslim family.

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