Murdered Bookseller the First Christian Martyr in the Gaza Strip
G a z a – Hanna Massad, pastor of Gaza City’s Baptist church, has honoured Rami Khader Ayyad, the murdered head of a Christian bookshop, as the first well-known Christian martyr in Gaza City. Ayyad was a member of Gaza City’s Baptist congregation. He had been kidnapped on 6th October and was found dead the following day with two gunshot wounds, knife cuts and open fractures. Massad wrote in an e-mail about the funeral in the Baptist congregation, that the few evangelical Christians in the Gaza Strip are proud of their 32-year-old brother’s commitment to the faith. Some believers are fearful, yet most remain confident. Massad stated: "I believe that Rami was under great pressure following his capture to recant his faith and convert to another one. But he refused and was willing to pay the highest price for that – his life." According to Massad, nominal Christians have in the past surrendered to pressures of the Muslim majority and “sold their faith”. Others have moved elsewhere.
Fayyad’s widow Pauline was present at the Baptist funeral and publicly confessed her faith. Her husband had given his life for his faith. She said: "I don’t know if Rami can hear us now or not. But I want to tell him: 'I love you very much.' " She called her husband’s martyrdom "a great testimony to his love for the Lord." Massad appeals for prayer support for Rami's widow and their children George (4) and Wassam (10 months). Pauline Ayyad is in her fourth month of pregnancy. Gaza City’s Baptist congregation is also in need of further prayer: "We need courage, wisdom and the strength to serve one another." Roughly 2.500 Christians live in the Gaza Strip among the region’s 1.5 million mostly-Muslim residents.