Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Sadly, everyone knows how to hate: Rioting Between Palestinian Muslims and Christians Near Bethlehem
A "Peeping Tom" who photographed a woman in the changing room of a Bethlehem area clothes shop sparked a night of rioting between Palestinian Muslims and Christians, witnesses said today.
At the height of the hours-long riot, hundreds of Muslims and Christians fought each other with metal rods and stones overnight in the streets of the West Bank town of Beit Sahour, adjacent to Bethlehem, revered as the birthplace of Jesus.
It was the first time in years that tension between Muslims and Christians in the Bethlehem area had exploded into large-scale violence, residents said.
Inter-religious tension has been brewing for some time in the Bethlehem area, where Christians number only around 20 percent of the population despite making up a majority of the population less than a century ago.
Among grievances cited by Christians are land seizures by Palestinian Muslims, a rise of Islamic radicalism during nearly four years of conflict with Israel, growing numbers of Muslims moving to Bethlehem from elsewhere and Israeli army operations and checkpoints in the Bethlehem area

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