Christians can only continue living safely in the Gaza Strip if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza told WND in an exclusive interview.
The militant leader said Christians in Gaza who engage in "missionary activity" will be "dealt with harshly."
The threats come two days after a church and Christian school in Gaza was attacked following the seizure of power in the territory by the Hamas terror group.
"I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza," said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a "military wing" to enforce Muslim law in Gaza.
Jihadia Salafiya is suspected of attacking a United Nations school in Gaza last month, after the school allowed boys and girls to participate in the same sporting event. One person was killed in that attack.
"The situation has now changed 180 degrees in Gaza," said Abu Saqer, speaking from Gaza yesterday.
"Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public," Abu Asqer told WND.
"Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped," he said. "If it goes on, we'll attack these things very harshly."
Abu Saqer accused the leadership of the Gaza Christian community of "proselytizing and trying to convert Muslims with funding from American evangelicals."
"This missionary activity is endangering the entire Christian community in Gaza," he said.
Abu Saqer claimed there was "no need" for the thousands of Christians in Gaza to maintain a large number of institutions in the territory.
About 2,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a population of over 1 million.
Abu Saqer said Hamas "must work to impose an Islamic rule or it will lose the authority it has and the will of the people."
His comments come after gunmen on Sunday attacked Gaza's Latin Church and adjacent Rosary Sisters School, reportedly destroying crosses, bibles, pictures of Jesus and furniture and equipment. The attackers also stole a number of computers.
The attack was the first targeting of Christian institutions since Hamas last week staged a coup against the rival Fatah party of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, seizing all Fatah positions and security compounds, essentially taking complete control of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas officials in Gaza claimed to WND Fatah was behind Sunday's church attack in an attempt to discredit Hamas to the international community.
Abu Saqer claimed he had "good information" that the attack really was a robbery aimed at the church's school computers, even though bibles and Christian holy objects were destroyed.
Reprinted with permission of WorldNetDaily