ISTANBUL, December 15 (Compass Direct News) — In the city of Samsun on the north coast of Turkey, the beleaguered congregation of the Agape Church Association struggles against local Islamic hostility toward its presence. In the last three years Agape church members have endured false allegations and verbal abuse from Muslim and nationalist locals. Their pastor has received death threats, and their building has been vandalized, all in an attempt to stop the 30 or so Christians from meeting.
Nothing new for the Islamic world.
Local authorities have also had their part in opposition to the church, threatening it with legal action based on spurious charges. The church was threatened with a lawsuit because members had hung verses of Scripture and a cross on the walls. The Provincial Directorate of Associations inspected the building and told them to remove the offending articles because their rented rooms looked too much like a church.
It was this sort of harassment that led the Alliance of Protestant Churches of Turkey (TEK) to write a report on the unfounded obstacles and challenges facing Christian congregations wishing to construct or reclassify church buildings. “The process of becoming a place of worship, although legally possible, is in practice almost impossible,” said a member of the TEK”s legal committee.”