Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Turkey is as Turkey does...

Steven Ray has recently been in Turkey for the filming of the last volume of his highly successful and informative "Footprints of God" video series, entitled "Apostolic Fathers: Handing on the Faith". You can read his blog notes about the experience in six successive posts: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, and #6. While Steven and his crew were there, the senseless slaughter at Virginia Tech occurred. He stated in his third post,

"People often ask us if we are afraid to travel in Israel and Turkey. Are you kidding? I feel very safe here. I am wondering if I feel safe coming back to the USA!"

That was on the 18th. The following day was this news item:

"Three employees of a publishing house that distributes Bibles were murdered Wednesday in the latest attack against Turkey's Christian minority.

The three victims - a German and two Turkish citizens - were found with their hands and legs bound and their throats slit at the Zirve publishing house in the central city of Malatya, reported The Associated Press.

The publishing house has been the site of previous protests by nationalists accusing it of proselytizing in this 99-percent Muslim but secular country, reported Dogan news agency. Zirve's general manager said his employees had recently been threatened."

Additional news and details about the incident can be found here and here.

All of this being just the latest in a long, long series of murderous acts over many, many years from the hands of the Muslim world gives one pause. It also makes Ray's fourth post even more powerful.

"From my window just now, I counted no less than nineteen minarets! What are minarets? They are the tall slender towers above an Islamic mosque from which the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer... What happened to the churches?...

"[The] Hagia Sophia—the Church of Holy Wisdom... was the glory of Christendom and for over a thousand years it had the largest dome — until St. Peter's was built in Rome... But when the Muslims conquered Contantinople they defaced the church, painted over the golden icons of our Blessed Mother and turned the spectacular church into a mosque. The crosses came down and the minarets went up.

"It has been predicted that within fifty years Europe’s skyline will change. It will become a Muslim empire. Steeples will come down and minarets will go up. No longer will you hear bells – you will hear muezzin wailing from the balconies of slender minarets. And America?"

He summarizes:
"Oh, so you don't believe it can happen to us? Neither did the Byzantine Empire, the powerhouse of Christianity in the East! But, the East fell to Islam and the West may fall as well. Maybe not by military might, but by religious indifference, population control, and secularism. Islam can overtake us by persistence, population growth, and religious fervor.

What was once part of a powerful Christian Empire is now 99% Muslim. Out of a population of about 75 million, there are only 60,000 Christians (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestants, etc.). The past screams to us but will we listen."

Via the Meandering Monk, Fr. Stephanos, comes this post for some further perspective (reminding us that Turkey has been wanting very much to join the European Union). Additionally, Sandro Magister has a thought-provoking insight into the problems within the Muslim world.

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