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Christian Pastor Attacked in Turkey as Country Seeks Religious Tolerance

Posted: Saturday, May 21 , 2005, 13:25 (UK) 

In a handwritten letter he was accused of not serving Christianity, but being used to attack traditional Turkish values.Turkey has made many improvements to increase religious tolerance and freedom over the past year, however it has been reported that Protestant pastor Wolfgang Hade serving in Izmit has recently received threats against him and his family, reported Compass Direct.

Pastor Hade lived in Izmit with his family for 3 and half years and led a small congregation of 15-20 Turkish Protestants.

This was not for the first time his church had been attacked - last year the night after Christmas an attacker set fire to the church.

"The aim was to burn the church down," Hade told Compass Direct. "There were black signs of burning and the window was partly broken, but the debris had been swept away."

In addition, on three separate occasions since, church windows have been broken and smashed.

These attacks are not the only cases of violence targeting at Christians. During the past six months, there have been similar attacks in at least four other Turkish cities.

The situation also has been reported by some as actually getting worse. Reports have been seen that state that media in the country have began a campaign against Christian missionary activities.

The government also allegedly commented on the work of missionaries as politically motivated, and during prayers on Friday in mosques, worshipers were warned that Christian missionaries "deceive and convert" people.

However, as Turkey attempts to join the European Union, the government has give much effort towards projecting an image of a democratic country.

In the capital Ankara another attack against the International Protestant church happened in April. As the leader of English speaking congregation said, a warning email was received several weeks before the attack.

These are not the only accidents, however, and the incidents are not being covered well by the country's media, since victims of these violations are reluctant to be identified as it may fan the situation even more.

 

Anna Lisa
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