JERUSALEM, Wednesday, July 19, 2023 (WAFA) – The Islamic-Christian Committee in Support of Jerusalem and its Sanctuaries today condemned what it called “the barbaric attack” carried out by Jewish religious groups on the Church and Monastery of Mar Elias in the city of Haifa in northern Israel.

It said in a statement that the storming of the church by Jewish religious groups and holding prayers inside it, claiming that there are graves for Jews in the church, constitutes an unprecedented, serious escalation and violation of the holy places of Palestinian Christians.

The Committee said that the claim that there are graves for Jews in churches is a pretext for seizing and Judaizing them, which is an aggression similar to what is being done in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

It stressed that this new allegation comes in the context of the repeated attacks by Jewish religious groups targeting the Christian presence, desecrating and vandalizing Christian holy places, and attacking and spitting on priests and monks in the streets.

It called on the European countries and the World Council of Churches to assume their responsibilities in defending the Arab Christian presence and to intervene to stop the Israeli plans aimed at obliterating and undermining the Palestinian Christian presence in Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian territories.

Meanwhile, an Israeli official working at the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem’s Old City today ordered Roman Catholic Abbot Nikodemus Schnabel to remove his cross while accompanying a German minister on a visit to the Western Wall, describing the cross as “provocative” and “inappropriate for this place.”

Nikodemus refused to take off the cross, which he regularly wears over his religious garment, insisting that the cross is part of his faith, saying the demand of the Israeli official is “very harsh,” and accusing her of “not respecting my religion.”