Does Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority persecute Christians?
Let me tell you the story of two Christian converts in Arafat-land – and you decide.
Three years ago, Saeed and Nasser Salamah of Biddya met with a group of German Christian tourists and evangelist David Ortiz.
"We spoke about Jesus and the miracle that God did for the nation of Israel," recalls Nasser. "A short while after that, I received a letter from the Palestinian Secret Police to come to be interrogated by them. I went to their office, and I was surprised during the investigation because they claimed that David Ortiz and I worked for the CIA. They said that the Christians get money from the Mossad and the CIA. They said that when we pray, we also drink and do sinful things. They said I am a traitor to Islam, and the sentence for betraying Islam is death. They wrote on a piece of cardboard, 'Nasser the Christian,' and put it on my back. They yelled at me and cursed me, and gave all the people there the impression that Christianity ... is a shameful thing. They asked me to curse Jesus."
He was released later that day, but was assured by the officer in charge that he would not be permitted to live a normal life.
"They told me that from that day on my life would be nothing but suffering," he recalls. "When I got home, I was tired and the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. I didn't even get to lie down when someone knocked on the door. My wife opened to [see] some men we didn't know. They said they were the Palestinian Secret Police, and they had come for Nasser."
Nasser took the opportunity to flee through the back door. He believed he would either be killed or locked up in prison for the rest of his life.
He has not been able to see his wife and children since. Even a year later, when his mother died, he could not return for the funeral.
When the secret police could not catch Nasser, they settled for kidnapping his brother Saeed, placing him in a dungeon where he never knew whether it was day or night for seven months. He was tortured repeatedly to a point of near death, then permitted to revive – over and over again.
When Saeed was released from prison, he and Nasser escaped to Israel, believing that they might find temporary sanctuary and perhaps a permanent home abroad where they could practice their faith freely.
Israel has only been willing to issue them 30-day permits. They are now facing deportation back to the Palestinian Authority – and, perhaps, death.
Fatah has accused both brothers of being Israeli collaborators. That charge often results in public lynching in the Palestinian Authority. The brothers now fear a sister may have been murdered since they arrived in Israel. She has vanished without a trace, they say.
"The whole world saw the pictures of a man that was accused of spying for Israel, how they tied him to a fender of the car and dragged him through the streets and killed him," recalls Nasser. "The believers also pay this most expensive price. The western governments are giving money to these terrorists and are paying their food bill. The Palestinian Authority gives false certificates to the people who work for them, even if they are terrorists, to get visas to the U.S., including false university degrees and certificates that they are businessmen and own factories, and they don't even have five cents to their names. These false documents make those terrorists eligible for visas, and the Americans believe it and give them entrance into the U.S."
Meanwhile, the Salamah brothers are without a home, without a country – and without many friends and supporters.
However, Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., and the Religious Freedom Coalition are working on their behalf – calling upon Israel to extend the asylum period for the brothers, giving them more time to find a home in the west.
You can help these brothers and thousands like them by supporting the Religious Freedom Council, which is actively working on behalf of the persecuted Christians in Arafat's Palestinian Authority.Joseph Farah's nationally syndicated column originates at WorldNetDaily, where he serves as editor and chief executive officer.
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