Compass Direct reports today that Yakup Cindilli, a Turkish convert to Christianity, is in a coma after receiving a savage beating from members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a political party which “has historically linked its platform with an Islamic-tinged version of nationalism.”
Cindilli’s offense? According to the Turkish paper Milliyet, Cindilli and a companion received their beatings “doing missionary propaganda.” It seems that he was passing out copies of the New Testament.
This is a case that bears watching. His attackers are in prison, and in secular Turkey, they should be punished in the same way as would be anyone who commited an assault.
However, the fact that Cindilli was beaten up at all is an indication that no matter how secular Turkey may be, old attitudes stemming from Islamic law — conversion from Islam is a capital offense, and missionary activity among Muslims intolerable — are still very much alive there. Radical Muslim influence has been growing steadily in the Turkish government, and may result in Cindilli’s attackers getting off with a slap on the wrist or less.