Friday, April 20, 2007

Christians Murdered in Turkey

Three Christians were murdered yesterday in eastern Turkey. They worked at a Christian publishing house that distributes Bibles. One was from Germany, the other two were Turks who converted to Chrsitianity. The killings were done by Islamists to "protect Islam."

Turkish media often portray Christians as trying to break up Turkey. One unidentified suspect is quoted as saying: "We didn't do this for ourselves, but for our religion. Our religion is being destroyed. Let this be a lesson to enemies of our religion."

I am also personally aware of recent persecution against Christians in Istanbul. The CNN report says "Christians expressed fear that growing nationalism and intolerance could lead to more violence against them."

Since visiting Istanbul a year ago one of my favorite Turkish websites is Today's Zaman. Go here to read what Turks themselves are saying about the brutal murders. Here's a quote from Today's Zaman.
"In 2001, a [Turkish] National Security Council (MGK) meeting chaired by then-prime minister B├╝lent Ecevit included "missionary activity" on its list of national security threats, making it a widespread concern across the country. A wide range of ideological groups from nationalist, neo-nationalists and Islamists, started claiming that missionaries were carrying out separatist activities and turning millions of Muslims into Christians. Some even went so far as to suggest that the 2002 killing of a neo-nationalist academic was the doing of Christian missionaries. All the aggravation directed at missionaries finally worked, and Christians across the country came to be eyed suspiciously by all segments of society, sometimes manifesting itself in outright criminal activity. Attacks against churches became more frequent and the long process hit its peak when Italian priest Andrea Santoro was killed in Trabzon last year in February by a 16-year-old whose mother later commented to the media that her son would "do jail time for Allah."

And, pray for the Christians in Turkey, and for Turkey.
(The photo shows Turks protesting the massacre in Istanbul.)