Islamic terror attacks that target Christians in Turkey have been noticeably on the rise. During Christmas in 2011, for instance, a large-scale al-Qaeda plot to bomb "all the churches in Ankara" was exposed. Before Christmas 2015, ISIS issued death threats to at least 20 Protestant churches,and warned that "Koranic commandments... urge us to slay the apostate like you."
In once-secular Turkey, hate for Christians has, in fact, come to permeate every segment of society — from the average Muslim citizen to the highest levels of government. The examples are many; two of the most obvious— the slaughter of Christians and attacks on their churches — follow:
In 2009, a group of young Turks — including the son of a mayor — broke into a Bible publishing house in Malatya. They bound its three Christian employees, tortured them for hours, and murdered them."We didn't do this for ourselves, but for our religion," one of the Turks accused said. "Let this be a lesson to enemies of our religion." Later, they were all released from prison on a technicality.
In 2019, an "86-year-old Greek man was found murdered in his home with his hands and feet tied"; he too had reportedly been tortured.
In late 2019, a 16-year-old Muslim boy stabbed a Korean Christian evangelist in the heart several times; the 41-year-old husband and father died shortly thereafter.
More common than the targeted killing of Christians are attacks related to churches.
In 2014 in Istanbul, a random gang of Muslims disrupted a baptismal church service in Istanbul. They pushed their way into the church, yelling obscenities; one menacingly waved a knife at those in attendance."It's not the first, and it won't be the last," a local Christian said.
In 2015, as many as 15 churches received death threats for "denying Allah." "Perverted infidels," one threat read, "the time that we will strike your necks is soon. May Allah receive the glory and the praise." "Threats are not anything new for the Protestant community who live in this country and want to raise their children here," church leaders commented.
What is behind all these attacks on anything and everything Christian — people, buildings, even graves? The recent response of a journalist in Turkey was an"environment of hate":
"But this hateful environment did not emerge out of nowhere. The seeds of this hatred are spread, beginning at primary schools, through books printed by the Ministry of National Education portraying Christians as enemies and traitors. The indoctrination continues through newspapers and television channels in line with state policies. And of course, the sermons at mosques and talk at coffee houses further stir up this hatred."
In other words, Turks, once "secular," are now educated to hate Christians.
Notably, even that is not enough to prevent ISIS from accusing Turkey of being a "servant of the cross".
Just what, then, do so-called "radical" Muslims — between 63 and 287 million Muslims support ISIS in just eleven nations — regard as the "proper" treatment of Christians?