Sunday, December 31, 2006

Over a thousand people injured in Turkey while sacrificing animals on Muslim holiday

"Over a thousand Turks spent the first day of the Muslim feast of Eid
al-Adha in emergency wards on Sunday after stabbing themselves or
suffering other injuries while sacrificing startled animals.

At least 1,413 people – referred to as “amateur butchers” by the
Turkish media – were treated at hospitals across the country, most
suffering cuts to their hands and legs, the Anatolia news agency
reported." News World -- Over a thousand people injured in Turkey while sacrificing animals on Muslim holiday

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Hajj! You're Not Invited!

"Perhaps no better contrast between Judaism, Christianity and Islam
exists than the treatment of non-believers on the respective holy days
of each religion. I recall fondly the many times that I have
participated in the Passover seder at the invitation of Jewish friends
and have each time been awed at the profound meaning attached to every
element of the seder which is designed to illustrate the fascinating
historical narrative of the Jewish people over the millennia that is
the foundation of both the Christian and Islamic faiths.

I also remember the occasion several years ago when a Chinese friend
of mine who was finishing his PhD at Ohio State joined my family and me
for our Christmas Eve celebrations. After joining us for worship, he
told us with tears in his eyes how that was the first time that he had
ever heard the gospel message that Jesus Christ had come into the world
to save sinners -- a message that had been branded as
counter-revolutionary and been outlawed in his own country. Needless to
say, we were delighted when he joined us again the following year for
Christmas Eve, where he was anxious to tell anyone at church who would
listen how he had embraced the free offer of the gospel and become a
Christian the previous year. Having returned home to China, my friend
is now a leader in the underground Church there.

But if I wanted to join my Muslim friends next week on the Hajj, I
would have to bear in mind that my reception would not be as friendly.
I would be forbidden to bring my Bible or any Christian literature with
me on my trip to Saudi Arabia, and be required to remove anything
identifiably Christian from my person (crosses, etc.). There are no
Christian churches allowed in the "Land of the Two Mosques", so there
would be no opportunity for me to join with fellow Christians there in
our weekly celebration of the Lord's Day, and I would constantly be
under watch by the Wahhabi Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice
police to ensure that I didn't share my Christian faith with anyone

Even having arrived in Saudi Arabia and complying with the absolute
ban of any expression of my faith, as I approached the holy city of
Mecca, I would be denied entry. Despite all of the supposed Quranic
endorsements of the "People of the Book" (i.e. Jews and Christians), as
a kafir, my presence is not welcome at the Hajj. We should remember
that the cardinal offense that prompted Osama bin Laden and his
al-Qaeda lackeys to declare war on the "Crusaders and Zionists" in 1996
was the presence of American troops in the Arabian Peninsula, though
nowhere near the sacred cities of Mecca or Medina.

For Muslims in the West, they have as much freedom as any other to
practice their faith openly and freely without any fear of being
molested. The number of mosques popping up all over America is a
testament to that freedom.

Such is not the case for Jews and Christians in Islamic lands,
however, where people of those faiths are subject to countless acts of
intimidation and violence on a daily basis. Even in their synagogues
and sanctuaries, believers are not immune from attack. In fact, many
are prevented from approaching their own holy sites. In the Holy Land,
Muslims occupy the Temple Mount -- the historic location of the ancient
Jewish Temple -- and Jewish worshippers are subject to regular assaults
by stone-throwing Muslim crowds at the nearby Wailing Wall and other
sacred sites. And it was the mere presence of a Jew -- Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon -- near the Temple Mount in September 2000 that
sparked the second intifada that has claimed the lives of hundreds of
Jews, Christians and Muslims in recent years. Jews have also been
forbidden from visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron --
Judaism's second-most holy site -- since it was converted to a mosque
in 1266.

And earlier this month Turkish authorities feared that Pope Benedict
might take the opportunity while touring the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul
-- one of the greatest churches in the world that was seized by Muslims
after 1,000 years of constant use by Christians -- that he might
actually try to pray there.

It isn't just the Hagia Sophia that has suffered the inglorious fate
of being converted from its original use as a Christian church to be
taken over by invading Islamic forces and made into a mosque. In her
book, The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to
Dhimmitude, Bat Ye'or chronicles how innumerable Christian and Jewish
holy sites, such as the Church of St. John in Damascus that was
demolished by the Islamic Caliph Abd al-Malik in 705 and had the
Umayyad Mosque built over it, were taken over for the exclusive use for
Islamic worship during the constant waves of Islamic conquest. It is
worth noting that even the Kabaa, the central location of worship in
Mecca, was seized by Mohammad from non-Muslims.

Getting back to my original point -- one of the constant complaints
of Muslim apologists is that Westerners just don't understand Islam.
Fair enough; but is that entirely the fault of non-Muslims who are shut
out of Islam's most important rituals? And might it be the case that
those of us, Christians and Jews alike, who are angered at the
treatment of our brethren in Islamic lands do so not because of our
alleged "Islamophobia", but rather on the basis of real grievances?"

Happy Hajj! You're Not Invited!

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Monday, December 25, 2006

A Fellow Bloggers Highs and Lows from 2006 in Turkey:

Tops in Child Porno

According to world-wide “Google Trends” research, the world’s top five cities hitting child-porn sites are all in Turkey, Trabzon, Izmir, Adana, Ankara and Istanbul respectively. Next in line are Auckland, Melbourne, Seattle, Tampa and Sydney.

(Radikal, 23 Dec. 2006)

Christians under pressure

Pressure on the Christian community did not let up this year. Early in the year a priest was shot while praying in his church in the city of Trabzon (the same Trabzon which leads the world in child porno hits) and another priest was knifed. Molotof Cocktails were thrown at several Istanbul Protestant church fellowship, one of which was severely damaged. Two Turkish Christians were arrested on obviously trumped up charged. Their court cases are ongoing. For more info go to the Compass Direct site, linked to


Muslims, failing to see the link, responded to a cartoon in the Danish newspaper Jyland Posten depicting Muhammed wearing a bomb as a turban, by bombing, rioting and killing innocent bystanders. A cartoonist depicting the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayip Erdogan, as a cat caught in a ball of wool was sued by Mr. Erdogan. The Prime Minister lost the case.

Papa Don’t Preach

The Pope undertook major damage control during his visit to Turkey. He arrived unwelcome, after apparently linking Islam with violence. However, he played a weak hand well…

Nobel Matters

When Orhan Pamuk received the Nobel Prize for Literature, a few Turks rejoiced. Most seemed to think it was a western plot to support a national traitor because he once suggested that Turks were involved in an Armenian genocide.

Holy Sledge

The Prime Minister’s blood sugar dropped during Ramazan (month of fasting). As a result he fainted while sitting in the back of his car. His chauffeur raced to a nearby hospital, where both he and the body guard jumped out of the armoured car in a panic—which promptly auto-locked. They tried to break into the car using a “No Parking” sign, but to no avail. They then scrounged up a sledge hammer from a nearby construction site and eventually managed to rescue their man, who was bundled off on a stretcher, legs dangling everywhere. Member of Parliament and party yes-man Feyzi Berdibek bought the sledge from the workmen, annoucing he’d treasure the sacred object forever.


Mehmet Ali Agca, the fellow who tried to kill Pope John Paul II back in the 80s and who really did kill newspaper man Abdi Ipekci, was finally released after nearly 25 years in prison. Following a public outrcy the court decided that they had “wrongly calculated” his release, whereup Mr. Agca was promptly rearrested and sent to back to his cell. He is now due to be freed in 2014.

Good times for Turkish cinema

After a long decline following the demise of the Yesilcam films of the 70s and 80s the Turkish film industry is making a comeback. In 2005 27 Turkish films were shown in cinemas. I’m not certain of the total number of films for 2006—but more than 20 were produced since September. The top 2 are probably Takva and Hokkabaz.

Attack on Supreme Court

A nationalist nut, lawyer Alparslan Arslan, attacked the Supreme Court Judges. One, Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin died, 4 others were injured. He had already thrown a bomb at the Ankara office of Cumhuriyet newspaper earlier that day.

Jet Ski Imam

An “ultra-conservative” imam, Ahmet Mahmut Hoca, was caught living the high life in Malta. Women, visits to churches, and racing around on a Jet Ski struck most of the faithful back home as a bit odd.


Colourful tights are all the rage in Turkey this season.

A la Turca Highs and Lows of 2006 « pikkert

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a Son is born, for unto us a Son is given and the government shall be on His shoulders and he shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace . . ."

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dr.Caner Brothers, Converts From islam to Christianity-Part2

Part 2 of the interview.
Dr.Caner Brothers, Converts From islam to Christianity-Part1

Part 1 of an excellent interview with the Caner Brothers.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Young Turks and Israelis are Most Religious

Or is it that they are the most indoctrinated:

"Approximately 10,000 young people in ten countries were interviewed about their attitude towards religion. Young Turkish Muslims had the strongest faith, followed by Jewish youth in Israel."

"Religious education in Turkey and Poland has the highest degree of sustainability. Eight out of ten young people said they would continue to follow the faith of their parents. By comparison, only one in five young Germany follows in the religious footsteps of their parents.

In Turkey, 84 per cent of all parents find it important that their children carry on in their faith. That is also true for 60 per cent of Polish parents, but only of nine percent of German moms and dads."

..: LE JOURNAL CHRETIEN [Young Turks and Israelis are Most Religious] :..

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Christmas a major event in predominantly Muslim Turkey

"The trees are trimmed, merry lights blink in the store fronts, children spend sleepless nights giggling in anticipation and adults, of course, double-check to make sure the belly dancer is coming.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here; Christmas Muslim-style, meaning without the Christ and without the Mass. It takes place New Year's Eve instead of Dec. 25, but it has Santa Claus, the family gathering, the feast and the joy."

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 12/14/2006 | Christmas a major event in predominantly Muslim Turkey

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hakan and Turan with English subtitles

The testimony of the 2 Turkish believers outside of the courthouse with English subtitles.

Beggars Matter

"You’re not supposed to give beggars money—every one knows they’ve got loads of money stashed away somewhere, right? They’re simply exploiting us hardworking people… And you must absolutely not give anything to the little beggar children; giving them money encourages those who exploit them, and thus simply increases the problem!

However, whenever I pass one of these numerous human wrecks—the doubled over old woman, the man without limbs, the doleful young mother with a dirty baby sucking an empty feeding bottle, the half-naked, snot-nosed toddler holding out a grubby hand and looking hopefully at you with big, brown eyes—I feel vaguely uncomfortable, guilty even. What if these people really are needy…?

In fact the really needy people far outnumber those reduced to begging. Most of the really poor people still have too much self-respect to beg. Statistics bear this out:

According to the Turkish Statistics Organization (Turkiye Istatistik Kurumu: TUIK) 25.5% of the population of Turkey in 2004 lived below the poverty line. That’s 18 million people. According to TUIK about one million people go hungry. A 2005 World Bank report states that 58% of the population of Turkey lives on $4.30 a day, 20% of the population on $2.15 a day.

I don’t know how that is possible. Nor do I know what I, personally, can/should do about it…

Give to beggars…?

Source for statistics: Radikal, Dec.5 2006."
Beggars Matter � pikkert

Monday, December 11, 2006

Report on Religious Freedom in Turkey

Christian World News has a good report on religious freedom in Turkey.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Turkey at odds with faithful - The Boston Globe

"Observant Muslims and Christian minorities feel the effects, to different degrees and in different ways, from limits on religious life."

"For Muslims, the government trains, hires, and fires imams. For the tiny Christian and Jewish minorities, the government has used a web of regulations to close and confiscate places of worship, and doesn't allow individuals or institutions to inherit property.

To the Turkish government and many non observant Turks, appeals for religious freedom strike at the defining principle of the modern Turkish state, the "secularism" imposed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the nation's first president, who forced Turks to abandon many of their traditions as part of a campaign to Westernize the country."

"For the approximately 99 percent of Turks who are Muslim, all aspects of religious expression are regulated by the Diyanet, the religious affairs ministry. Sermons are supposed to be written by imams higher up in the ministry bureaucracy, although some mosques have bucked the rule lately."

"For Turkey's religious minorities -- including about 68,000 Armenian Orthodox, 20,000 Catholics, 23,000 Jews, and 3,000 Greek Orthodox -- the laws are far more restrictive. Many of the minorities see them as part of a Turkish history of trying to drive them out that includes the Armenian genocide and waves of expulsion of Greek Orthodox Christians."
Turkey at odds with faithful - The Boston Globe

Thursday, December 07, 2006


"Ankara’s top government religious official accused Pope Benedict XVI yesterday of “doing injustice to Turkey” by declaring after his historic visit to Turkey last week that the country’s Catholics live under difficult conditions."

“If the pope says Christians in Turkey are mistreated, I will tell him that he has been seriously misinformed,” Bardakoglu told Reuters in an interview published November 24, four days before Benedict arrived.

Sidestepping the rights of Turkey’s Christian citizens, Bardakoglu instead cited his government’s support for places of worship for expatriates living and working in Turkey, according to Reuters."


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Josh McDowell Speaks at the Marmara

Josh McDowell spoke last night to a large crowd at the Marmara hotel in Istanbul. He clearly communicated his testimony and the truth about Jesus as the Son of God who died and was resurrected for our salvation.
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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Turkish Church Burned by Molotov Cocktail

Last Friday in the middle of the night, the Gungoren Protestant Fellowship was struck by a molotov cocktail. The fire did considerable damage to the main entrance to the church and inside of the building. The church members met in homes last week, but are going to return to worship in the building this Sunday. Evidence points to this being the work of amateurs, but no one has been detained for the vandalism. Pray for the strengthening of the believers and for the considerable expense to repair the damage to be met.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Article 301: Thou Shall Not Share Christ- CWNews

"For Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal, two best friends, enjoying a casual walk along the streets of Istanbul has taken on new meaning. In the next couple of months, the two converts from Islam to Christianity could face the prospect of pending up three years behind bars.

"But we are not afraid because we know that our love for Jesus Christ takes away all of our fears," Topal said. "Even if we die, we will be rewarded in heaven with eternal life."

On Nov. 23, a criminal court charged the men under Article 301 of the Turkish penal code for allegedly insulting "Turkishness" and inciting hate while "trying to convert other Turks to Christianity."
"We are not guilty but, yes, we do share our faith because the Bible tells us that we are free to talk about the love of Christ to anyone who asks for it," Tastan said.

Article 301 has been widely criticized by human rights groups for restricting freedom of speech. European officials have demanded that Turkey amend the article if it hopes to join the European Union. Tastan and Topal's case goes to trial in January."

Article 301: Thou Shall Not Share Christ- CWNews

Who are Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal? � GetReligion

"During this busy week, I have been watching to see if two men’s names showed up, at any point, in Google News."

"But I have been watching to see if their names surfaced in coverage of Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Turkey. Why? To answer that question we have to turn to some form of advocacy media — like this Compass Direct report by veteran journalist Barbara G. Baker (a friend of this blog), which was, thank goodness, picked up by Baptist Press.

To cut to the chase, these two men continue to be accused of “insulting Turkishness” because they have, as evangelicals, tried to do evangelical things. You know, the kinds of basic free-speech activities that people can do in countries that are part of the European Union. I think."

"Here is my question: Why isn’t this mainstream news if the back story to the papal visit is Turkey’s bid to enter the European Union and, well, the Western world built on some form of rule of law? I am glad that “Christian news agencies” cover these stories, believe me. I respect the work they do. But why do I need to read about this religious-liberty issue on “religious” news sites?

I want to read about this in the elite MSM newspapers and wire services. It’s news.

Right? Does religious liberty matter? Does free speech matter? How about the freedom of assembly? And isn’t this linked, in a way, with the freedom of the press?"
Who are Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal? � GetReligion: "During this busy week, I have been watching to see if two men’s names showed up, at any point, in Google News."