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ENI: Christian is parliamentary candidate for Islamic group Hamas

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  • Felix Corley
    http://www.eni.ch/articles/display.shtml?06-0059 24 January 2006 Christian is parliamentary candidate for Islamic group Hamas Michele Green Jerusalem (ENI).
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 30, 2006
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      http://www.eni.ch/articles/display.shtml?06-0059


      24 January 2006

      Christian is parliamentary candidate for Islamic group Hamas

      Michele Green

      Jerusalem (ENI). Hosam al-Taweel seems an unlikely candidate to run in the
      Palestinian parliamentary elections on behalf of the militant Islamic group
      Hamas. Al-Taweel, 40, is a Greek-Orthodox Christian living in the Gaza Strip
      who has volunteered at the local YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association)
      for more than three decades.
      But he decided to join Hamas - a group that seeks to destroy Israel and
      replace it with an Islamic state based on strict Sharia law - because he
      believes a Hamas government is in the best interests of the Palestinian
      people.
      "We are all - Christians and Muslims - united for a free Palestine. Our
      ancestors fought with the Muslim leader, Salah al-Din, against the
      crusaders," he told the Arabic-language al-Jazeera satellite television
      channel during an interview. "We also share a common suffering under Israeli
      occupation and each of us has reciprocal respect towards our religious
      beliefs."
      Hamas is expected to strongly challenge President Mahmoud Abbas' mainstream
      Fatah movement in the 25 January parliamentary elections. Hamas' Change and
      Reform party stands for ending rampant corruption in the Palestinian
      Authority.
      But the prospect it could win the election or do well enough to influence
      the Palestinian Authority has some Western countries worried as Hamas is
      regarded as a terrorist group that has spearheaded a wave of suicide
      bombings against Israel.
      This does not concern al-Taweel, who has said he opposes the 1993 Oslo peace
      accords with Israel and calls for Palestinians to continue to resist Israeli
      occupation.
      "My programme isn't specifically for Christians only, but designed for all
      Palestinians," he said. "We are fighting for the right of return of
      displaced Palestinian refugees and fighting corruption in Palestinian
      governance."
      There are about 10 000 Palestinian-Christians living in the Gaza Strip and
      as in the West Bank their numbers have dwindled over the past century.
      Christianity in Gaza dates to shortly after the death of Jesus. The first
      Christian martyr in Gaza was Bishop Sylvanus, who was killed in AD 284.
      Cooperation between Christians and Hamas is not new. In the West Bank city
      of Bethlehem, the Christian mayor took power due to a coalition he formed
      with the Hamas dominated city council.
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