A large billboard in the center of Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus, warns Christians against slandering Allah and links to a website encouraging them to convert to Islam.
The billboard features an English translation of Quran 4:171 and has an Israeli stop sign on it to warn local Christians. The billboard also has links to two websites on it, including a site called knowingallah.com, which encourages conversion to Islam.
“O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits of your religion. Say nothing but the truth about Allah (The One True God). The Christ Jesus, Son of Mary, was only a Messenger of God and His word conveyed to Mary and a spirit created by Him. So believe in God and His messengers and do not say: ‘Three gods (trinity).’ Cease! It will be better for you. Indeed, Allah is the One and the Only God. His Holiness is far above having a son,” the billboard reads.
Bishara Shlayan, a prominent Christian resident of Nazareth who is attempting to start a new Israeli Christian political party, confirmed the existence of the billboard and called it “shameful.”
“It is very shameful to see this in Nazareth,” Shlayan told JNS.org. “Nobody has spoken up about it or has tried to remove it.”
Shlayan explained that Nazareth, which historically has been home to a large Christian community, has seen that community’s population steadily decline as a result of a growing number of Muslims in the city.
“Nazareth has always been known as a Christian city, but we were an open city and accepted everyone. Now today Christian symbols in the city have been removed and Christians [are fleeing] the city,” Shlayan said.
Shlayan believes it is important that the Israeli government and others help the Christian community in Nazareth.
“We want to be declared Israeli Christians and to no longer be declared Arabs,” he said. “We want to take care of ourselves, but we need help.”