Fifteen Turkish Protestant congregations and their leaders have been targeted since 27 August by a strident campaign of death threats sent to their Facebook, email, websites and mobile phones.
The threats followed the style and jargon typically used by Islamic State (IS), vowing to kill, massacre and behead apostates whom the messages accused of having “chosen the path that denies Allah” and “dragged others into believing as you do … As heretics you have increased your numbers with ignorant followers”.
“Threats are not anything new for the Protestant community who live in this country and want to raise their children here,” the Association of Protestant Christians in Turkey said in a press release on 1 September. “But with the recent increase in systematic threats, from this country’s west to east and north to south, in different cities, we think that these messages, coming close together and resembling each other, are coming from the same source.”
Most of the messages included a direct quote from the Al-Ahzab chapter of the Koran, which threatens “those who spread false news … Accursed, they shall be seized wherever found and killed with a horrible slaughter.”
A link was also posted for an Arabic video subtitled in Turkish on YouTube entitled, “The religious proofs why apostates should be killed”.
The majority of Turkish Protestant congregations are former Muslims who have converted to Christianity. In contrast to most Muslim-majority nations, Turkish citizens have the legal right to change their religious identity or leave the religion column on their identification card blank.
Source: World Watch Monitor