Gaza, Palestine - Kamal Tarazi is a Christian who goes to the mosque five times every day, not to pray, but to help his blind Muslim friend, Hatem Chriz walk to the mosque. he them waits for him to finish his prayers and walks him back to his house.
Kamal said in a statement to the newspaper Middle East Eye, "The Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza, is known as one of the oldest historical sites in the Middle East, where Muslims and Christians coexisted for a long time, where Muslims go to pray in the mosque, which is next to the church. Everybody lives in tolerance despite different beliefs. This is not the case for the Zeitoun neighborhood only, but in all of Gaza, Christians and Muslims protect each other, nothing separates between us. We live in the same circumstances, and we suffer from the same blockade".
Kamal said that people know he is a Christian, and are surprised by the depth of his friendship with his Muslim neighbor which exceeds 15 years. Hatem, who lost his sight five years ago as a result of an accident at work told newspaper Middle East Eye that he couldn't have the loss of his sight without his friend's help. He says they have helped each other overcome many crises such as the Israeli wars on Gaza, poverty and prison. Kamal was a political prisonner in the 1980s and 1990s before being released under the Oslo agreement.
The church of St. Borfores is the main Christian church in Gaza and it dates back to the 5th century AD. The number of Christians in the Gaza Strip has been decreasing since the 2008-2009 war from about 3,000 Christians to almost half that number currently. Some Christians left for the West Bank and others emigrated to Europe citing the war and the fear of Hamas authorities as the main reasons for leaving the Gaza strip.
Source: Middle East Eye.