Christian Bookstore Manager in Gaza City kidnapped and murdered
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Gaza City, 07.10.2007 / APD

Bible Society Sign

Bible Society Sign

The manager of the Gaza Strip's only all-Christian bookstore was found stabbed to death on Sunday (October 7) in what appears to have been an act of aggression. Rami Khader Ayyad, a prominent Gaza Christian, disappeared on Saturday (October 6), following months of death threats from local Muslims.

Ayyad ran the Teacher's Bookshop, which is a ministry of the Palestinian Bible Society (PBS) and the local Gaza Baptist Church. Ayyad was accused by area Muslims of spreading the Gospel. The 32-year-old Ayyad left two young children and a pregnant wife.

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. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh condemned the killing and said the Islamist movement "would not allow anyone to sabotage" Muslim-Christian relations.

We feel Rami was killed for his Christian faith," said Simon Azazian, a spokesman at the Bible Society's head office in Jerusalem

Gaza's 2,500 Christians, who live among 1.5 million Muslims, have increasingly become a target of aggression since Hamas wrested control of Gaza last June.

The Palestinian Bible Society (PBS) headquarters in East Jerusalem and her bookstore in Gaza City were the targets of frequent attacks, including a bombing earlier this year that severely damaged the Bible Society. The Palestinian Bible Society is a member of the United Bible Societies/USB), the worldwide roof organisation of 140 national Bible Societies.

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Christian B. Schäffler, Journalist SFJ