Türkiye Deported Nine Christian Missionary: Constitutional Court Backed Government

Farrukh Saif

June 14, 2024

Türkiye's Deported Nine Christian Missionary

The recent ruling by Türkiye’s Constitutional Court, upholding the government’s decision to expel nine foreign Christian missionaries, has once again brought the issue of religious freedom and missionary activities into the spotlight. The court’s decision reflects Türkiye’s long-standing stance on evangelizing activities, which are viewed as a potential threat to the country’s Principles and religion.

The case dates to 2019 when nine foreign nationals, including Americans, Canadians, and Germans, were deported from various cities across Türkiye. Authorities accused them of engaging in missionary work, which is illegal under Turkish law and can lead to deportation or criminal charges.

The Turkish legal system prohibits missionary work and proselytizing activities, particularly those aimed at converting individuals from Islam to other religions. The Penal Code and the Law on Associations outline these restrictions.

National Security Concerns:

The Turkish government has consistently cited national security and public order as justifications for its stance on missionary activities. Authorities argue that unchecked evangelizing could disrupt social harmony, fuel religious tensions, and potentially undermine the secular foundations of the state.

Comparison with Iran:

Türkiye’s approach to missionary activities is not unique in the region. Iran, a predominantly Muslim nation, also has strict laws prohibiting evangelizing by non-Islamic religions. In fact, the Iranian Penal Code imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment and even the death penalty, for those found guilty of attempting to convert Muslims to other faiths.

Double Standard Of Muslim Countries:

It is indeed concerning that Muslim-majority countries have laws restricting the religious freedom of minority faiths like Christianity, while simultaneously accusing Western nations of Islamophobia. This apparent double standard highlights the complex dynamics surrounding religion, national identity, and human rights.

While Muslim nations defend such measures as necessary to preserve social harmony and secular values, the expulsion of Christian missionaries and limitations on evangelizing activities can be seen as infringing on fundamental rights of religious expression and belief.

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Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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