Did media downplay attacks on Turkish parish?

.- On March 11th, a young man armed with a long knife entered a Catholic church and threatened two monks and about 25 young people who were rehearsing for a Passion play. The young man also broke a door and stole a cell phone. No one was injured. He was arrested and later released.

But, rather than reporting the violent crime, some newspapers downplayed the event or reported that the boy had entered the church accusing the monks of prostituting boys and girls, Fr Hanri Leylek, one of the monks, told AsiaNews.

Fr. Leylek said the perpetrator had initially entered the church and mixed in with the youth of the parish.

“One of the boys called me, telling me there was a stranger creating problems, who wanted to talk to a priest. I went out of the room and started to talk to him; seeing that he was saying disjointed things and threats, I asked him to go outside. He refused and only threatened all the more, swearing,” recounted Fr. Leylek.

When the young man refused to cooperate, the priest decided to use the telephone in the corridor to call the police. This is when the young man pulled out a knife, about 80 cm long, which he had hidden behind his back.

Fr Leylek tried to calm the young man. When another priest came into the room, Fr. Leylek discreetly left and went to the police station nearby.

When the priest arrived with policemen, the young man threatened the officers as well. After further discussions with the young man, he surrendered to police.

“This was the second attack on our parish,” Fr. Leylek told AsiaNews. The first took place two months ago. Another young man kicked down the two doors of the convent and forced his way in, saying he wanted to talk to a priest. He was not armed but had burned books in the parish information office. Two priests spoke to the young man, who later left with police without resisting.

Since the murder of Fr Andrea Santoro Feb. 28, national news media continue to talk about missionaries and their proselytism, reported AsiaNews. According to the Asian news agency, some say “this approach hides the political struggle of religious fundamentalism against the current Turkish government and its resolve to take Turkey into Europe.”

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