Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Murder trial in Turkey reveals antipathy toward Christians

Mission Network News
According to Compass Direct, plaintiff attorneys have called in a heavy slate of witnesses for the next hearing, ranging from a gendarmerie commander to an Islamic theology instructor at a nearby university. Mehmet Ulger, the former gendarmerie commander of the province, and Ruhi Abat, a theology instructor at the local Inonu University, are among the 10 people expected to testify at the April 13 hearing.

What's been uncovered so far reveals a deep mistrust Christians in Turkey. The number of Christian believers declined from 22% to only .2% between 1900 and 2000, and most of these Christians are non-Turkish. The other 99.8% of the Turkish population is Muslim. Very few have ever heard the Gospel.

Behnan Konutgan with IN Network says that "identity mistrust" has been a challenge in their ministry.

There's a saying that goes: "To be a Turk is to be Muslim; to be Muslim is to be a Turk." Konutgan says often, when they're doing Christian work, they are asked, "Where are you from?" He often gets an incredulous response when he tells the person, "I am from here. I am Turkish.'" Their response: "You can't be! You're a Christian." It's a cultural assumption, along with the assumption that Christianity is a Western religion.

The problem is that many Turks get their idea of Christianity from Hollywood. With that misconception to confront, Konutgan says their team of four have to work carefully.

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