They Cry in Silence Mar/Apr 2008

Media producers and conservative Christians have long argued about whether film and television fare can so affect people, especially youth, that it influences their actions. Secularists in the celluloid industry have loudly claimed that there is little or no perceptible relationship between the steady stream of violence and licentiousness passing for theatrical art and what happens in real life.

However, it doesn’t take a certified genius to understand that the great majority of purveyors of violence and perversity defend their sleazy productions solely in the interest of profit and that the media can greatly influence human behavior.

A case in point was on display recently in Turkey. Although it is 99 percent Muslim, Turkey has a secular provision that allows Muslims to convert to other religions. According to a report by Compass Direct News, on December 16, 2007, a Catholic priest was stabbed while conversing with a young Muslim who claimed to be interested in converting.

Then, on December 29, 22-year-old Murat Tabuk admitted to planning the assassination of Ramazan Arkan, 30, pastor of the Antalya New Testament Church. A former Muslim from the town of Sivas, Arkan became a Christian 11 years ago and has been a pastor for the past eight years. Since the planned killing was discovered, Pastor Arkan has been under police custody to insure his safety.

In both instances the perpetrators said they were inspired to kill Christians by the popular, ultra-nationalist Turkish television serial Valley of the Wolves. Compass Direct reported that the series depicts Christian missionaries as political infiltrators who pay poor families to convert to Christianity and shows Christians selling body parts and participating in mafia activities and prostitution. Christians are also portrayed “as working as enemies of society in order to spread their faith,” the news service said.

Arkan signed a formal complaint with the Istanbul state prosecutor’s office protesting the weekly show. The complaint says the show has fomented “innumerable direct threats, attacks against places of worship and eventually, the live slaughter of three innocent Christians in Malatya.”

Church leaders have demanded that the producers be prosecuted for spreading false information and inciting violence against Christians, but thus far no legal action has been forthcoming.

In the wake of the attacks and renewed threats of violence against believers, Pastor Arkan told Compass Direct News, “I’m not afraid, but I do have some anxieties, of course. We have come to the point of being a target. That is uncomfortable, but we will see how this affects us all.”

Unfortunately, Christians in the Middle East are also becoming targets. In actuality, two wars are being fought in the region. One is the military conflict waged by Islamists to drive democracy, the West, and Western influence out of the region in order to install an Islamic caliphate under which any remaining religions would be tolerated only as second-class, or dhimmi, entities. The other is leveled against Christians in the hope of purging Christianity entirely from these countries.

In reality, it is a war of annihilation. And a potent weapon in that war is inflammatory media productions like Valley of the Wolves.

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