Turkish Man Assaulted For Missionary Activities: Report


Agence France Presse
August 4, 2009 Tuesday 8:16 AM GMT

A 24-year-old street seller assaulted a man on grounds he was
proselytizing Christianity, holding a knife to his throat in downtown
Istanbul before surrendering to police, newspapers reported Tuesday.

The incident, the latest in a string of religiously-motivated attacks
in Turkey in recent years, happened Monday on a busy avenue in
Istanbul’s Kadikoy district, before the eyes of dozens of passers-by.

The assailant — identified as 24-year-old pirate CD vendor Yasin
Karasu — wrapped a Turkish flag around the head of Ismail Aydin,
35, put a knife to his throat and shouted "This is Turkey, you cannot
distribute Bibles here," the Haberturk newspaper said.

The stand-off lasted for 20 minutes before the police persuaded the
assailant to surrender, according to the Sabah daily.

Karasu later told the police he was angry with Aydin for converting
to Christianity and engaging in missionary activities, Sabah said,
while the Vatan daily suggested the assailant was mentally disturbed.

Proselytizing is generally viewed with suspicion in Turkey, whose
population is predominantly Muslim, with tiny Greek Othodox, Catholic,
Armenian and Jewish communities, concentrated in Istanbul.

An Italian Roman Catholic priest was shot dead in 2006 and three
Protestants — a German missionary and two Turkish converts — had
their throats slit in 2007.

Two Catholic priests have been stabbed and several churches have
reported harrassment and threats.

The incidents have fuelled fears of rising nationalism and hostility
against non-Muslims in Turkey, which is seeking to join the European