Jizia for Christians: IS thought, extremism concealed in Muslims’ minds, says Palestinian scribe

In April this year, a group of Palestinian Muslims barged into a Christian locality in Jifna village, Al-Bireh district and threw firebombs and stones, opened fire and threatened to exterminate the Christians. The attackers raised IS-like slogans and also demanded jizia –poll tax imposed on non-Muslims—from ‘outsiders’.

The frightened Christians approached Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister and Interior Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh, who tried to dispel their fears by saying, “The Christians are a major element of the Palestinian people and we will not allow such expressions to be used.”

‘It is an incident that is an indicator of the existence of extremist ISIS thought and extremism concealed in our hearts – exclusionary thinking that negates the other and sees members of other religious communities as denizens of Hell, unbelievers, and misguided, whose sentence is death or expulsion or living in humiliation, under a false motto of religious tolerance’

Even as the higher-ups in the administration offered lip-service to the Christians and promised to punish the culprits, the Palestinian security apparatuses treated it as a “brawl” and did not take action against the culprits. Jifna village council chairman Amjad ‘Awad said the Christians were playing the issue out of proportion.

In an article by Palestinian journalist Abd Al-Ghani Salameh, columnist for the Palestinian Al-Ayyam daily, wrote in his Facebook page (not as a column, because, the newspaper had refused to publish it): “It is an incident that is an indicator of the existence of extremist ISIS thought and extremism concealed in our hearts – exclusionary thinking that negates the other and sees members of other religious communities as denizens of Hell, unbelievers, and misguided, whose sentence is death or expulsion or living in humiliation, under a false motto of religious tolerance… The Ministry of Religious Endowments must ban Friday preachers from uttering sectarian curses and hate-filled calls and statements, and must prosecute them for doing so. The Jifna [incident] is shameful, and remaining silent about it is criminal.”

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