Two activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested on Monday in connection with the attack on a professor at Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district. Sources said 12 others, most of them with extremist links, were also taken into custody for interrogation.
Ashraf, 37, of Mundeth, Mekalady, and Jaffar, 28, of Eramaloor, Kothamangalam, were remanded to judicial custody by the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, Muvattupuzha.
The right palm of T.J. Joseph, 53, professor of Malayalam in the Newman College, Thodupuzha, was chopped off by the assailants on Sunday. He, along with his mother and sister, was returning home from church when a gang of six waylaid his car and attacked him with an axe.
PFI is a Muslim organization. Kerala is not reputed to be a particularly extremist state. I heard that TN and AP are the two best ones. Maybe Shalini can correct me.
And I think the general trend in India is in favor of more religious liberty for Christians. But not so in Turkey.
For all the attention Turkey has gotten lately, very few Americans are aware that the Roman Catholic bishop serving as apostolic vicar of Anatolia was stabbed to death and decapitated last month by an assailant shouting, “Allahu Akbar! I have killed the great Satan!”
There are fewer than 60 Catholic priests in all of Turkey, and yet Bishop Luigi Padovese was the fifth of them to be shot or stabbed in the last four years, starting with the murder of Fr. Andrea Santoro in 2006, also by an assailant shouting, “Allahu Akbar!” (An Armenian journalist and three Protestants working at a Christian publishing house — one of them German, the other two Turkish converts — were also killed during this period.)
What’s going on? Why has traditionally secularist Turkey, with its minuscule Christian community (less than 0.2 percent of the population), lately become nearly as dangerous for Christians as neighboring Iraq? And why has this disturbing pattern of events so far escaped notice in the West?
In a nutshell, all these violent acts reflect a popular culture increasingly shaped by Turkish media accounts deliberately promoting hatred of Christians and Jews.
As it happens, Bishop Padovese was murdered on the same day (June 3) that the Wall Street Journal published an eye-opening report on how Turkey’s press and film industry have increasingly blurred the distinction between fact and fantasy, especially since the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) took power in 2002.
“To follow Turkish discourse in recent years has been to follow a national decline into madness.” That’s how Robert L. Pollock, editorial-features editor of the Journal, summed up the trajectory of the daily fare that shapes Turks’ attitudes toward the outside world — and toward non-Muslims in their midst. Indeed, much of what passes for fact in Turkish public discourse would be comical if not for the deadly consequences.
Turkey is really starting to scare me. They’re going the wrong way.