A West Bank pastor who fled to the United States this week following threats of violence from a Palestinian security official said he feels he is in as much danger stateside as he was in Ramallah. “We know they do have contacts here in the states, so I’m taking it as serious as I would if I were still in Ramallah,” U.S.-born Isa Bajalia, who has ministered in Ramallah since 1991, told Compass. Bajalia, 47, said that a Fatah security official from the Tanzim militia, Nader Dahoud Abu Dahoud, demanded $30,000 and registration in his name of property the pastor had inherited. Bajalia said Dahoud had raised objections to a team of Christian visitors, which he had brought from the United States, praying for Muslims in Ramallah. In a telephone interview, Dahoud denied making the threats and said he was seeking only repayment of money he had given Bajalia for property the pastor had failed to sign over to him. Bajalia, however, told Compass that when the Islamic security official began harassing him in August, he made reference to the ministry project by the Christian visitors in May. “It’s not unusual for the Palestinian Authority to plant people in Christian projects so that they’ll see if you’re trying to convert Muslims to Christianity or if there’s any political agenda involved,” Bajalia said.
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