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    Youths threaten to kill a Catholic friar

    Hürriyet Haber
    11.02.2006 - 12:20 | Son Güncelleme:

    Violent protests against the cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad continued to escalate on Thursday with a group of Turkish youths grabbing a Catholic priest by the throat and threaten to kill him. The incident comes just days after a Catholic priest was shot dead in a northeastern Turkish town while he was praying. The youths shouted "God is Greatest", as they grabbed the friar, Martin Kmetec, a Franciscan friar from Slovenia. Kmetec said he was grabbed as he opened the door of his house on Thursday by seven or eight angry men in their 20s.

    "He took me by the throat and pulled me inside and said 'we're going to finish you off' ... he also said Allahu Akbar (Arabic for God is Greatest)," Kmetec told Reuters by telephone from his church in the province of Izmir. Kmetec closed the door on the youths, who said they were nationalists, but left after trying to break the door down.

    Local police spokesman said that the matter was being investigated.

    Turkey, a secular state with an overwhelming Muslim majority, was shocked last Sunday by the shooting of a 61-year-old Italian priest, Andrea Santoro, in his church. A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder, which coincided with an international uproar over the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad.

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