Since Operation Protective Edge in Gaza began, hundreds of Muslim Palestinians have found themselves worshiping in a Christian house of God, where they took refuge after Israeli airstrikes targeted their neighborhoods.
“They let us pray. It’s changed my view of Christians — I didn’t really know any before, but they’ve become our brothers,” says Khalaf, 27, who admitted he never expected to perform his evening prayers in a church.
“We (Muslims) prayed all together last night,” he says. “Here, the love between Muslims and Christians has grown.”
Walking into the Saint Porphyrius Church courtyard in Gaza City, visitors are greeted with a “marhaban” by Christian helpers, but with a decidedly more Islamic “peace be upon you” (Arabic: al-salamu aleikum) by most of its current residents — displaced Gazans who have made it their shelter for almost two weeks.