Four Turks Attack a Church Building in Turkey in Anti-Christian assault , police release them. (MorningStar).
Four men detained by police for attacking a church building in the Black Sea region of Turkey last week shouted jihadist slogans when released from jail, a marked departure from past harassment, church leaders said.
Shortly after 11:30 p.m. on Feb. 25, the four Muslims went to a building rented by the Agape Church Foundation in Samsun and tried to get someone to come to the door, pastor Orhan Pıçaklar told Morning Star News.
Initially two of the four men rang the doorbell on the building, used by the church group for worship and teaching, but seconds later two others arrived who began banging on the door with their fists and then tried to kick the door open.
A small number of people were in the building when the men came, including one congregation member who acts as a church caretaker, but no one answered the door. Eventually the Muslims noticed a security camera and destroyed it, then left.
Police identified the suspects, who all turned themselves in on Tuesday (March 1) and were released the next day.
Though no one was injured in the attack, which was minor compared with other incidents, the pastor decided to report it to police because of its menacing and brazen nature.
The anti-Christian motive of the attack later became apparent when police were releasing the accused, as some or all of them yelled ‘Allahu Akbar [God is greater],’ the jihadist victory slogan.Such behavior is a clear departure from other incidents, said Pastor Pıçaklar.
“They attacked us knowing that they would get caught – they even looked at the security camera and smiled,” he said. “Later they went to the police and turned themselves in, and today they were set free.
So what should I do [in response] to these guys who drink until they get drunk, and when they get caught [attacking the church building], instead of fear and sadness, yell, ‘Allahuu Akbar!’?”
Pastor Pıçaklar said the incident was not just a “kick the door and go. These guys wanted the door open and to go inside and hit someone or attack in some other way.”
He added that in the past few days he’s received “strange phone calls.”
The Samsun church has been the site of numerous attacks, the church member said.
“Sadly, it’s normal,” he said. “Sadly, it is something you just have to let go.”
Pastor Pıçaklar said previous assailants have not been so combative.
“Those who have attacked us and been caught have always apologized, and we have always forgiven them, because this is what God wants us to do,” he said. “If we only say, ‘Forgive your enemies’ when we’re giving a sermon, we’re hypocrites. Those who attacked us this time are really different, however.”
The 2015 report of the Association of Protestant Churches documents numerous attacks and instances of harassment against Turkish churches, including threats by email and phone text messages linked to the Islamic State.
“The threatening content, the images used, the anthems and the names used show that these threats originate with the radical terror organization ISIS,” the report stated.
Pastor Pıçaklar said last week’s attack caused him to wonder about the nature of anti-Christian persecution in Turkey. Read the full story here.
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