09/19/2019 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Yesterday, a hooded man approached the Church of St. Paul in Antalya during a meeting where representatives of three churches were gathered. The man became verbally abusive, and made threats of physical attacks.
The identity of the man is unknown, and he was careful to keep his face hidden from security cameras. The timing of the incident comes as St. Paul was preparing for celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the opening of their cultural center. The man was shouting that he would take great pleasure in destroying the Christians, as he viewed them as a type of parasitism on Turkey. Police are investigating the incident.
The Christians who witnessed these threats say that they are spiritually encouraged to become stronger in their faith following this incident, as Jesus never gave up. However, the incident also brought to mind the struggles the local church faced in the early 2000s, shortly after its launch.
Hate speech is one of the primary challenges facing Turkish Christians, who are often viewed as traitors to their country since they have left Islam. While violent persecution attacks are rare, the increase of hate speech throughout Turkey does cause alarm of what it may foreshadow in the future.
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