FAQ :: Are Christians sometimes forced to convert to Islam?

Yes. In the summer of 2012, Arab Christians in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip took a public stand against forced conversion to Islam. In an unusual public demonstration, men and women gathered in front of the Church of Saint Porphyrius Monday to protest the abduction and forced conversion of members of their congregation. YNet reported that the newly converted Muslims, al-Amash, a 25-year-old man, and Hiba Abu Dawoud, 31, a mother with three children, are staying with a Muslim official for “protection” from their Christian families, according to Gaza police.

“This is not the first time this has happened. In the past, there were cases involving women, whole families, and younger men,” Nabanat said. “But there has never before been such a public protest by Christians, which means they’ve reach the point of terrible desperation.” Generally, the pattern is the same:

“There would be a sudden disappearance of the individual(s) for an extended period of time, with no news or no information about them,” Nabanat said. “Then comes a sudden announcement that they’ve converted to Islam. Afterward, they may reappear with armed people around them as “protection.”