On Saturday afternoon, a group of 30 to 40 people attacked the "Atasehir Yeni Umut Kilisesi" ("Atasehir New Hope Church") in Istanbul's Atasehir district with stones and raw eggs. The only member of the parish present in the church, a Finnish citizen, suffered no injuries. However there was material damage to the church building.Source: Zenit.de
As reported by the Christian news website SAT7TÜRKHABER on Saturday evening, the police were soon on the scene after the attack and announced an in-depth investigation of the events. Windows were broken on the parish premises, the panel with the church name torn out and taken away and parts of the decoration in the entrance area destroyed. Some attackers tried to break through the door into the inner area, but did not manage to reach the church.
As a church representative said to the news website SAT7TÜRKHABER, the community was officially opened a week ago. The intention of the parish members is not to stir up disquiet in society, but to live in peace with all and transmit the work of God.
Another attack in Istanbul around the same time:
A group of about 10 young people of Turkish origin invaded the Greek Church of Saint John in one of the Princes’ islands, the island of Antigone in Istanbul and caused some vandalism and damage, officials said..Source: GreekReporter
The young Turks, aged from 15 to 18 years old and who did not live in the island, were arrested by residents and led to the local police station. They were released because they were minors.
The Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans denounced the attack in an announcement, where it reported that: “Religious and nationalistic fanaticism that is promoted by various circles in Turkey, some of which are adjacent to the current government, is the instigator of this attack.”
The announcement continued: “Apart from imposing the necessary sanctions to the perpetrators of this attack, as the Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans has mentioned many times to the authorities in charge, the government of Turkey should urgently proceed to measures of fighting the nationalistic and racist violence, firstly by removing from school books the ignorant of history negative reports against non-Muslim Communities.”
In this context, it's worth recalling a speech Turkish president Abdullah Gul gave not long ago.
European countries will face new humanitarian tragedies leading to mass killings of people if they continue in their failure to embrace tolerance toward different cultures and religions, President Abdullah Gül has warned.Source: Hurriyet
“Islam and migrants have been a reality in Europe for centuries. As long as the continent of Europe doesn’t approach segments which are different from the majority with tolerance, particularly in regards to religion, an occurrence of new inquisitions and Holocausts, as well as incidents evoking Srebrenica, are probable,” Gül said yesterday.
His strongly worded remarks came as he delivered a keynote speech at the opening of a two-day international symposium on “Migration, Islam and Multiculturality in Europe” arranged by Hacettepe University’s Migration and Politics Research Center.
Racism and a lack of tolerance of different cultures and lifestyles are some of the chronic diseases in Western societies, Gül said, drawing attention to the increase in support for political parties which portray migrants as the main reason for societal problems in European countries such as safety, unemployment, crime and poverty.
“When politics begins ‘otherizing’ a segment, then we see the alienation of migrants and minorities from the country in which they live and from the society in which they live as an inevitable consequence. As seen in countless examples in history, countries which have been able to perpetuate societal and cultural diversity in unity and harmony have stood out in history. Correspondingly, countries which have exerted efforts to either destroy or put pressure on societal and cultural diversity due to different fears have first of all lost their human richness; subsequently, they have experienced a loss of economic and political power,” the president said.
“In this regard, although each country is responsible for producing its own authentic resolutions, showing respect for multiculturalism [is necessary],” he said.
“Racism and intolerance toward different cultures and lifestyles are unfortunately one of the most chronic diseases. Although this disease can be taken under control, it arises again, particularly during times of economic crisis,” he said.