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Turk Shoots At Italian Consulate Over Pope

From those defenders of the (Muslim) faith at Reuters:

Exemplary Religion Of Peace practitioner Ibrahim Ak shouts slogans as he arrives at a hospital for a medical check up after he was detained in Istanbul, Turkey, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006. Ak fired shots into the air outside the Italian consulate to protest an upcoming visit by Pope Benedict XVI. The suspect later told television he wanted to ‘strangle’ the pope with his bare hands.

Turk shoots at Italy consulate over Pope visit

Thu Nov 2, 2006

By Daren Butler

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – A man fired a weapon in front of the Italian consulate in Istanbul on Thursday to protest against Pope Benedict’s visit to the predominantly Muslim country later this month, raising concern over the Pontiff’s safety there.

"I did what every Muslim has do to. God willing, the Pope will not come to Turkey, but if he does he will see what will happen to him," 26-year-old Ibrahim Ak told the DHA news agency while sitting in a police car after he was detained

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, a pious Muslim, has decided not to meet the Pope because of a busy schedule, a move Italian commentators said amounted to a diplomatic snub.

Vatican observers said they could not recall an occasion when a head of government did not meet a visiting pope…

The Pope has even been warned to stay away by the man who attempted to kill his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in 1981.

"As someone who knows these matters well, I say your life is in danger. Don’t come to Turkey," said Mehmet Ali Agca in comments released in September by his lawyer. Agca is now serving a jail sentence in Istanbul for murder and robbery.

Pope John Paul publicly forgave Agca four days after the shooting in St Peter’s Square and again when he visited him in his cell in 1983. Agca was pardoned at the Pope’s request in 2000 after 19 years in an Italian jail

"We do not want the Pope to visit our country. It is time for democratic reaction to protect the unity of the secular republic of Turkey," Kemal Kerincsiz, a powerful nationalist lawyer and member of the Great Lawyers Union, said on Wednesday.

Violence against Roman Catholic clergy in Turkey has risen in the past year. In the most serious incident, a youth shot dead an Italian priest while he prayed in his church in the Black Sea port of Trabzon. A French priest survived a knife attack in Samsun, also on the Black Sea and a Slovenian Franciscan friar received death threats.

People stand near a banner that reads ‘We don’t want the Pope in Turkey,’ hung by anonymous protesters on a bridge in Istanbul, October 23, 2006.

What is it with Turks shooting Popes?

Again, try to imagine the endless outrage if a Christian had taken pot shots in front of a Muslim site or threatened a prominent (let alone top) Islamic cleric?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, November 2nd, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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