(Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Christians continue to suffer from Muslim persecution throughout the Middle East, and it has reached Jerusalem neighborhoods. 

The Jerusalem Calvary Baptist Church was forced to close its doors and relocate following years of vicious and relentless Muslim attacks.

The Church, which was situated in a Muslim-dominated area in east Jerusalem, has been under attack since opening in 2007, Raymond Ibrahim reports for The Gatestone Institute.

The first attack came within the first 10 days, when a Muslim attacked one of the church-goers with a knife. Shortly afterwards, an anarchist tried to set fire to the building. Several incidents of vandalism followed, including the damaging of cars and property. Children were physically assaulted on the way to services.

The congregation was finally forced to move after the landlord of the property was threatened, Gatestone reports. “How dare you do this,” he was told. “This is a disgrace to Islam. If you don’t do anything about this, we will.”

The owner finally caved in to pressure, and the 110-member community was forced to leave the Muslim-controlled neighborhood and search for a new home.

Pastor Steven Khoury told the Morning Star News that he was devastated when he handed over the keys. The persecution was difficult but had also been a catalyst for spiritual development, he explained.

“It was very emotional, because a lot of our people really started to grow there,” he said. “Most of the growth happened in Shuafat [the east Jerusalem neighborhood] because of the persecution.”

Khoury said that the assaults were spread out over a two- or three-year period, in order “to let us know that we were not welcome there.”

A Muslim Assault on Christians Every Day

Orthodox Christian worshippers in Israel take part in the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Orthodox Christian worshipers in Israel take part in the Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

This is the third church in Muslim-majority Jerusalem neighborhoods to be forced out in recent years, Gatestone points out.

A church administrator told Morning Star News that Muslim harassment has been constant. “I have been here since 2004, and every day we have a story,” he said.

In spite of all that happened to him and his congregation, Khoury told Morning Star News that his congregation is determined to stay in Jerusalem. “I believe in being persistent, and I believe in holding your ground and standing strong,” he said. “I believe in the message so strongly I am willing to risk my life. Our members are willing to risk their lives by continuously coming to the same location. I believe still that people will see that we are committed just like they are in their religion, and we are willing to die for our faith just as they are as well.”

Christians have been persecuted and murdered in Muslim-dominated countries in recent years, such as in Iraq, Egypt, and Nigeria, The growing Muslim population has also threatened Christian-majority countries such as France and Sweden.

For centuries, Bethlehem was a Christian city, with members of the faith comprising approximately 80 percent of the population as recently as 50 years ago. Today, under the administration of the Palestinian Authority, it is under 15 percent Christian due to Muslim persecution.

Just think how Christians would suffer if the Palestinian Authority controlled Jerusalem!

By: United with Israel Staff

(With files from The Gatestone Institute and the Morning Star News)

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