Extremist militants threaten Palestinian Christians in east Jerusalem

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez |

(REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)Palestinian Orthodox Christians celebrate the arrival of the 'Holy Fire' from Jerusalem's Holy Sepulchre in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah April 11, 2015. In late June, a series of fliers has circulated in east Jerusalem threatening Christians who remain in the area after the Muslim observance of Ramadan.

PALESTINE (Christian Examiner) -- A group identifying itself as "Islamic State in Palestine" has reportedly threatened the massacre of Christians in east Jerusalem.

According to Israel Today, unverified flyers bearing a symbol identified with ISIS began circulating the area Thursday, June 25. The leaflets reportedly threaten Christians who remain in the area after the Muslim observance of Ramadan.

A translation of the message reveals the group seeks "revenge" for "those who collaborate with the Zionists" and "Christian collaborators" because they "encourage Muslims to leave their religion and become more secular and open, and they spread evil," The Jerusalem Post reported.

So we tell our Christians and the nonbelievers: Go away now or you will be killed.
- Statement on a flyer bearing an ISIS symbol and identified as Islamic State in Palestine

The note also states "ISIS soldiers will work to kill these people so this country is clean of them and... will clean this country and the Muslim Quarter from these Christians during this holy Ramadan."

It concludes with a statement that because Christians violated a pact made when Muslims conquered Jerusalem they must leave or die within one month.

(Screenshot: Israel's Channel 10 television)An unverified flier bearing a well-known ISIS symbol circulated in east Jerusalem last week. The flyer was reportedly signed by a group called the "Islamic State in Palestine" and threatened to slaughter Christians who live in the area.

"So we tell our Christians and the nonbelievers: Go away now or you will be killed," the statement says.

Many locals questioned the authenticity of the materials. While some Christian Arabs expressed concern over the threat of their slaughter others said they did not fear for their lives.

One anonymous Arab called the statements an intimidation tactic. "It may simply be an attempt to intimidate local Christians," he said. "I do not fear. We are here in Israel, I do not think that Israel will allow that," he added.

Despite the mixed response from locals, a local Israeli news station reported that Israeli security forces were taking the threat against Palestinian Christians seriously.

Earlier this month, the Christian Today reported that anti-Christian hostility was on the rise in the area due to a growing number of radicalized Muslims there.

Rami Fellemon, director of Jerusalem Evangelistic Outreach based in East Jerusalem told CT that the developing tensions left Christians concerned and confused.

"They feel like even more of a minority now and feel hated by both sides [Jews and Muslims]."