JERUSALEM – Christians who support Israel are distorting their true faith, have adapted Satan as god and comprise the greatest danger to world peace, according to a senior Palestinian Authority cleric.

The cleric, whose article on Christianity and Israel is posted on an official PA government website, also accuses Zionist Christians of persecuting Palestinians and directing the war in Iraq, and he calls for pro-Israeli Christian denominations to be expelled from the “world church.”

“Very few people know the truth about this [Christian Zionist] movement, which unconditionally supports the Zionist enemy and unconditionally opposes Islam and the Muslims,” writes Hamed Al-Tamimi, director of inter-religious dialogue for the PA’s Judicial Council.

The article, posted in Arabic, was translated by Palestinian Media Watch.

Continues al-Tamimi: “The Zionist-Christian motivation, in addition to imperialist motivation, was behind the cursed Balfour Declaration – Balfour and Prime Minister Lloyd George were Christian Zionists … and the truth is we should not deny [that] these Crusader motivations stand [today] behind the British and American policy in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other Arab and Muslim countries.

“Christian Zionists are a group who adopted Satan as god who drives their crazy nature. They have praised depravity and cursed virtue, they have turned the moral scale upside down and have reached [a point] in which forgery, deception and lying have turned into descriptions of world policy, which is led by the Zionism on both its branches – the Jewish and the Christian.”

Al-Tamimi then quotes from a speech by Riad Jarjour, secretary-general of the Middle-Eastern Churches Committee, who calls for Christian Zionist denominations to be “expelled by the world church, since [they are] a dangerous distortion and a big deviation from the true Christian faith, which concentrates on Jesus. [Christian Zionism] defends a national political program which considers the Jewish race supreme.”

Without citing examples, the PA cleric goes on to accuse Christian leaders of persecuting Palestinians:

“Their association and their organizations, headed by the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, carry out their criminal activities against the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian people, as Walter Riggans, the secretary-general of the International Christian Embassy, proudly and defiantly announced: ‘We are more Zionist than the Israelis'”

While Christian violence against Palestinians is very rare, there are rampant reports of violent Muslim campaigns against Christians in areas controlled by the PA.

Anti-Christian riots have been reported in Ramallah, Nazareth and surrounding villages as well as in towns in Gaza.

In Bethlehem, local Christians have long complained of anti-Christian persecution, including intimidation against Christian businessmen, anti-Christian shooting attacks, rape and murder of Christian women, and the confiscation of local church land for construction of mosques. The city’s Christian population, once 90 percent, has declined drastically since the PA took control in December 1995. Christians now make up less than 25 percent of Bethlehem, according to Israeli surveys.

Also, as WND reported, the municipal leadership of Qalqiliya, a northern Samaria Palestinian city now controlled by Hamas, last month warned a local Young Men’s Christian Association to close its offices and leave town or face likely Muslim violence, accusing it of missionary activity. Qalqilya’s YMCA is staffed mostly by Muslims.

The move highlighted long-standing fears Hamas would use its win in last January’s Palestinian parliamentary elections to impose an anti-Christian, anti-Jewish hard-line Islamist regime in the areas controlled by the PA.

Israeli officials say Hamas in the Gaza Strip has established hard-line Islamic courts and created the Hamas Anti-Corruption Group, which is described as a kind of “morality police” operating within Hamas’ organization. Hamas has denied the existence of the anti-corruption group, but it recently carried out a high-profile “honor killing” widely covered by the Palestinian media.

A Hamas-run council in the West Bank came under international criticism last year when it barred an open-air music and dance festival, declaring it was against Islam.

In response to the uproar, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told WND during an exclusive interview: “I hardly understand the point of view of the West concerning these issues. The West brought all this freedom to its people, but it is that freedom that has brought about the death of morality in the West. It’s what led to phenomena like homosexuality, homelessness and AIDS.”

Asked if Hamas will impose hard-line Islamic law on the Palestinians, al-Zahar responded, “The Palestinian people are Muslim people, and we do not need to impose anything on our people because they are already committed to their faith and religion. People are free to choose their way of life, their way of dress and behavior.”

Al-Zahar said his terror group, which demands strict dress codes for females, respects women’s rights.

“It is wrong to think that in our Islamic society there is a lack of rights for women. Women enjoy their rights. What we have, unlike the West, is that young women cannot be with men and have relations outside marriage. Sometimes with tens of men. This causes the destruction of the family institution and the fact that many kids come to the world without knowing who are their fathers or who are their mothers. This is not a modern and progressed society,” al-Zahar explained.

The terror chieftain told WND the West can learn from his group’s Islamic values.

“Here I refer to what was said in the early ’90s by Britain’s Prince Charles at Oxford University. He spoke about Islam and its important role in morality and culture. He said the West must learn from Islam how to bring up children properly and to teach them the right values.”

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