Dink murder: the religious authorities remain silent, the media withholds condemnation
A priest and friend of don Andrea Santoro, “scandalized”, writes a letter dense with questions: asking the Turkish media how they can fail to pass judgement on such premeditated violence against a Christian man; to the Muslim religious leaders he asks for an end to their “assenting-silences” regarding murders committed in the name of Allah.
Ankara (AsiaNews) – The “aseptic” Turkish media’s coverage of the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink of January 19th is “scandalous”, as is the silence of the Muslim community’s religious leaders regarding this “act of violence against a Christian premeditated and blessed by Islamic prayers”. A friend and fellow clergyman of Don Andrea Santoro, the priest killed in Trabzon on February 5 2006 vents his frustration. After having read the principal national newspapers and having viewed diverse televised debates, the priest – who remains anonymous for security reasons – sent this letter to AsiaNews:
“I am deeply shocked and scandalised that no one in the national media has condemned this deadly violence against a Christian, which was premeditated and blessed by Islamic prayer. What’s more shocking is the fact that on the front page of Turkey’s most popular newspaper, “Posta” dated January 22, a quote from the assassin has been published devoid of comment or shame in bold letters “I recited Friday prayer and then I hit”. Moreover further down in the article we are given a calm account of the murder and are blandly told that the murderer shows no remorse, that he has even declared his willingness to carry out a similar act again when necessary.
I was forced to ask myself where Ali Bardakoglu, the leader of the Islamic religion in Turkey is at the moment. Where is the Islam of peace, of harmony that has been vaunted so often in recent times particularly here in Turkey. Not one single Islamic authority has dreamed of saying that murder is a sin. And that it’s even more grave if it is done in the name of God. No one in authority within the Muslim community has raised his voice against this cruel murder carried out after having asked for the help and consensus of God in the mosque.
No Islamic authority has condemned the assassination
The director of religious affairs in Turkey, the greatest exponent of Turkish Islam, Ali Bardakoglu who was deeply disturbed by a misunderstood passage from the Pope’s Regensburg speech, a speech he had not even read at the time, but about which he created a great fuss until the arrival of Benedict XVI in the land November last, well that same Ali Bardakoglu in this most poignant of occasions has said no more than “the murder of this Turkish intellectual, of this Turkish philosopher our brother Armenian was a vile blow to the tranquillity and unity of Turkey”. Isn’t that madness? Not one word of disapproval of the murder carried out in the name of God. I would love to be able to ask him face to face: Today in the XX century after the horrors of the past is it still admissible to kill in the name of God? Can you tell us something about this violent gesture, explain it to us? Here we are not talking about a centuries old quotation, but about a scandalous act carried out in today’s world.
You, who in the meeting with Benedict XVI in Ankara on November 28th affirmed that all those who represent Islam “as a violent religion, a religion spread by the sword throughout the world were wrong, because this visions have no scientific or historic foundations”. Then why are you so silent today? What is more concrete than a murdered man?
The shots while in Rome the Pope spoke of the role of religions in promoting peaceful cohabitation
Benedict XVI during his visit to this our beloved country after having affirmed “the active presence of religions in society is a factor of progress and of enrichment for all”, he reiterated the fact that “violence cannot be used in the name of God” , invitino everybody, but above all civil and religous leader sto “once and for all renounce the justification of the recourse to violence as a legittimate expression of religious practice or politics, instead inviting all to work together with respect and esteem for the common good”. It is therefore time to end these dangerous assenting-silences. You who applauded this speech, how can you now justify you silence which is heavy as a lead weight?.
And to think that the murder was carried out on the very same day that Benedict XVI received the new Turkish ambassador to the Holy See, Muammer Doğan Akdur. The Pope, after having thanked once again the Turkish authorities for their hospitality and their welcome on the occasion of his visit, had once again turned his attention to the issue “that believers of the different faiths must do all they can to work together for peace, starting from their renunciation of violence, too often used in the past with the pretext of religious motivation, and get to know each other and respect each other more in order to build an increasingly fraternal society”.
A few short hours later two deadly shots are fired against a Turkish journalist of Armenian origins by a you nationalist and religious fanatic.
Most esteemed Minister of religious affairs, the Popes words last Friday were a prophecy able to indicate once again the journey that needs to be taken on a daily bases if we are to build a respect and tolerance of diversity. While I was reading the words of the Holy Father I learnt of Hrant Dink and they resounded all the louder in my heart. What is your position in the face of all of this? You who like me declare yourself to be a man of God, who and what do you wish to defend?”.
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