There has been rapid attack on Christians for the blame of crisis and social woes happening in Turkey as the outbreak of Coronavirus where 191,000 cases and 5,000 deaths have been recorded which has worsening the struggling economic and financial hardship in the country.
SAT-7, which broadcasts Christian programming into the Middle East and North Africa, warns that angry individuals have attacked churches, including incidents of attempted arson and removals of crosses, as “coronavirus-fueled anger” has led to a “climate of fear [and] hatred.”
In a statement to media this week, SAT-7 warned that some Turks have been “looking for a scapegoat to vent their anger,” which has put “Christians and other minorities in the direct line of protests.”
“We know firsthand the climate of hatred and its devastating effects on Turkey and on the churches exposed to it,” Turkish SAT-7 presenter Senem Ekener said. “We aim to counter that with lives that reflect Christ.”
In early May, a person attempted to set the front gate of the Dznunt Surp Asdvadzadzin Armenian Church in Istanbul on fire. No officials of the church were hurt and the gate sustained no structural damage.
Church leadership filed a complaint with police and were told that authorities would do all they could to catch the perpetrator. The Armenia-based News.am reports that a suspect was apprehended.
This week, a Turkish citizen named Mazlum Serin was sentenced to five years and four months in prison after he was caught on camera breaking a cross on the gate of the Surp Krikor Lusavoriç Armenian Church in Istanbul on May 23.Christian Post reports.
According to Middle East Monitor, Serin told investigators that he “was just angry that day” and didn’t “plan or intend to harm the church,” adding that he respects “all religions.” Serin was charged with the crime of “damaging places of worship and cemeteries.”
SAT-7 is the only Christian network that broadcasts every day in the Turkish language. It is trying to use its platform to get the point across that Christians are not a threat and to encourage local Christians to respond to the attacks by “living out their faith with love and taking the path of peace.”
“The pandemic has created fear and frustration in Turkey, with Christians sometimes being blamed for the problem,” SAT-7 President Rex Rogers said in a statement.
According to the nongovernmental organization International Christian Concern, Armenian churches in Turkey are not strangers to vandalism and defacement. The group warned in a statement Wednesday that attackers of churches and Christians often “escape justice.”
“Turkish media also perpetuates and even encourages these incidents, making it even more common for justice to remain fleeting,” ICC, a United States-based advocacy group, contends. “Turkey’s media is mostly state-run and it frequently posts hate speech directed toward Christians, Jews, and other religious minorities.
These instances of hate speech are often linked to an increase in persecution incidents.” continue reading on Christian Post.