Turkey (MNN) — A startling plot involving Al Qaeda and an
attack on churches in Turkey came to light Friday.
According to reports from the daily Taraf newspaper and Compass
Direct News, a homegrown terrorist cell had laid plans to attack all of Ankara's
churches as well as their Christian clergy. Rody Rodeheaver with I.N. Network USA says, "These were terrorists tied to al Qaeda,
who were gathering caches of explosives, weapons, plans, maps–all that you
need to bring about a terrorist attack."
The militants planned a "jihad" strategy by focusing their
attacks against Turkey before waging war against the United States and other
explains, "Part of the rationale behind this is that it is much easier to
strike in Turkey than to take the risk of making these strikes by al Qaeda in
the U.S. I think the other things that were being talked about here and planned
were some bombings and continued assassination attempts on Christian leaders."
Police also discovered lists of the names and home addresses
of Christian clergy and other church workers residing in Ankara. Christian leaders were caught flat-footed
with the revelation of the details. However, security measures had already been
beefed up with recent threats. Rodeheaver says the report comes as a reminder
of the environment that Turk Christians live in. "One of the churches that
was being singled out, there's actually a guard booth where the police sit 24/7
because this is a major target as well as our staff person who has a
Police raids netted 14 suspected Al Qaeda militants, several
of whom faced additional charges December 10. Christians are soft targets, which is why,
Rodeheaver notes, they are used as scapegoats by extremists. "It falls into the pattern of wanting to
embarrass the Turkish government, whom they wish to see become Islamic and pull
away from their secular bent."
Despite the alarm raised by the revelation of the plot to
destroy Ankara's churches, I.N. Network's team in Turkey won't be deterred. On the one hand, it's a logical
approach. "If they became overly
concerned about these various plots, they wouldn't be able to do their ministry."
On the other hand, "There is a commitment on the part of
these believers that God has called them to do what they're doing. Because He
has called them, He will both supply their needs and protect them." It means I.N. Network has chosen to stay focused
on their mission of developing the Church in Turkey.
Church planting and evangelism are carried out by a small
church plant in Istanbul. Due to the ostracism many Christians feel, internet
evangelism and a Christian children's ministry are also very important parts of
I.N. Network Turkey.
Rodeheaver urges believers to "pray for the protection
both for the ministry staff in these countries, the national workers, who, day
in and day out, are doing their job in sharing the Gospel. I think the other
thing to pray for is that the staff has great wisdom in how they communicate
and how they share the Gospel."