Fifteen Turkish Protestant congregations and their leaders have been targeted by a strident campaign of death threats sent to their Facebook, email, websites and mobile telephones. One of the messages warned: “Perverted infidels, the time that we will strike your necks is soon. May Allah receive the glory and praise.”
The threats followed the style and jargon typically used by the Islamic State vowing to kill, massacre and behead apostates who the messages accused of having “chosen the path that denies Allah” and “dragged others into believing as you do… As heretics you have increased your numbers with ignorant followers”.
“Threats are not anything new for the Protestant community who live in this country and want to raise their children here,” the Association of Protestant Christians in Turkey said in a press release. “But with the recent increase in systematic threats, from this country’s west to east and north to south, in different cities, we think that these messages, coming close together and resembling each other, are coming from the same source.”
Most of the messages included a direct quote from the Al-Ahzab chapter of the Quran, which threatens “those who spread false news… Accursed, they shall be seized wherever found and killed with a horrible slaughter.”
A link was also posted for an Arabic video subtitled in Turkish on YouTube entitled, “The religious proofs why apostates should be killed”.
One pastor attacked over both email and SMS messages said, “They are saying things like they had been waiting for us to return to Islam, and that we are responsible for other Muslims turning to Christ, that our time is up and that Allah will give them our heads.”
However, hope is not lost. As Jesus spoke to His disciples in John 16:33, he told them, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
*Names and photos are representative for the safety of persecuted Christians