Belief Beat

More bad religion news out of Turkey today, less than a week since several Turkish activists — including a teenager with dual American citizenship — were among the nine civilians killed during Israel’s raid of the flotilla of ships carrying aid to Gaza: a Roman Catholic bishop has been stabbed to death by his driver.

The Associated Press reports that Luigi Padovese, 63, the apostolic vicar in Anatolia, was scheduled to leave for Cyprus tomorrow to meet with Pope Benedict during his visit to the island. The killing was not believed to be politically motivated and may be unrelated to Padovese’s efforts to revive Turkey’s tiny Christian community; the 2006 murder of another Catholic priest in Turkey had been prompted by anger over the publication in European newspapers of caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. (Father Andrea Santoro’s killer, a 16-year-old boy, was sentenced to 18 years in prison.)

Meanwhile, JTA reports that Turkey has beefed up security for its tiny Jewish population, due to the country’s anger over the flotilla violence, evident in the large crowds chanting anti-Israel slogans at the victims’ funerals and other demonstrations in the last few days. 

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