A Muslim mob converged on the Palestinian Christian town of Taibeh, burning and looting 13 homes owned by relatives of a man suspected of having an affair and impregnating a 30-year-old Muslim woman who worked for him. Prior to the mob attack, in yet another suspected “honor killing,” the pregnant woman, Hiyam Ajaj, was found dead from poison.
Lara Sukhtian, of the Associated Press (AP), has written a compelling article about the incident that included context regarding Muslim-Christian tensions, as well as the disturbing practice of “honor killing” among both Muslim and Christian Arabs. While it is understandable that coverage of the massive Hurricane Katrina relief effort has appropriately bumped many other news items, this story is of particular interest to Christians and women’s rights advocates, as well as the general public.
The media occasionally writes about the exodus of Christians from historically Christian towns in the West Bank. Often, the reason is attributed to Israeli-induced hardships. In fact, the dwindling population in Palestinian Authority territories parallels that in surrounding Muslim countries and has more to do with the fact that Arab Christians are made to feel unwelcome or worse – as the above story shows – by their Muslim neighbors. Israel’s Christian population, by contrast is vibrant and growing. In recent years it has been growing at the same rate as Israel’s Jewish population. For example, in the period 1995 – 2003 Israel’s Arab Christian population grew from 101,400 to 115,700, a growth rate of 14.1 percent. For more information about Muslim intimidation and violence against Palestinian Christians, see CAMERA’s December 2004 report “New York Times Omits Major Reason Christians are Leaving Bethlehem” and the JCPA’s “The Beleaguered Christians of the Palestinian-Controlled Areas.”
A New York Sun September 5 editorial discussed the incident in Taibeh, commenting:
Some liberal American Christian denominations have recently been announcing their intentions to divest from Israel. It’ll be illuminating to see whether this will stir them to divest from the West Bank.
For example, see CAMERA on Evangelical Lutheran anti-Israel resolution.