Rami Ayyad - remembering ‘a genuine martyr’
Please light a candle today in memory of Rami Ayyad, whom the Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, called ‘a genuine martyr’.
The murder of the Palestinian-Arab Christian Bookseller casts a tragic light upon the attitudes adopted by major Christian organisations to the problems of the Middle East.
Rami Ayyad was manager of the Palestinian Bible Society Bookshop in Gaza City. He was abducted on Saturday 6th October shortly after closing his shop for the day, and his corpse was found early next morning. His funeral took place the same day. The staff at the Palestinian Bible Society work against a constant backdrop of violence and conflict. They face the threat of attack daily. But they are dedicated to demonstrating the Bible’s life-changing message to the Palestinian people.
According to those who knew him, Rami Ayyad loved to share the Good News. He is described as a smiling, loving big guy, the face of the Bible Society in Gaza, with a heart full of the love of Jesus. We rest in the knowledge that he is now with the Lord, for ‘we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, and eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands’ ( 2Cor 5:1).
But here on earth, Mr Ayyad leaves behind a pregnant wife and two young children. He also leaves behind a shocked community of believers.
Mr Ayyad was a witness to his faith in Gaza, which since the Israeli withdrawal has plummeted into violence reminiscent of Beirut in the 1970s: Palestinian self-rule has not fostered peace. His witness in the Holy Land was transformed into martydom at the hands of the militant Islamic fanatics of Hamas - who decree that there shall be no peace until its sectarian brand of Islam is politically, militarily and spiritually triumphant.
It is folly on the part of Christian churches and organisations in the west to ally themselves with militant Palestinianism, instead of moderates. Mr Ayyad's murder should bring home to all of us what is actually at stake in the Middle East.
Cranmer joins today with fellow Christians in the Middle East, in Gaza, in the West Bank, in Israel and worldwide, in mourning and condemning the murder of Rami Ayyad, and in praying for his family as they attempt to settle in the West Bank and continue to come to terms with their profound a grievous loss.