Pastor stabbed to death in horror attack; Leaves behind 4-year-old son and pregnant wife

Pastor Jinwook Kim is shown in this file photo with his wife and young son.

A pastor has been stabbed to death in a horrific attack, with several sources indicating that he was targeted because of his Christian faith.

Pastor Jinwook Kim was murdered in the city of Diyarbakir in south-east Turkey, having lived in the country for the last five years. He had moved to Diyarbakir for the past year, where he pastored a small church. 

Several local sources told Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that he may have been targeted because of his faith, and a 16-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with his death.

Adding to the tragedy, Kim leaves behind a four-year-old son and a heavily pregnant wife who is just days away from giving birth.

CSW's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: "We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, congregation and loved ones of Pastor Kim.

"We urge the Turkish government to fully investigate this murder, and hold those found to have been involved in it accountable."

The pastor's death comes at an increasingly difficult time for Christians in Turkey, with some foreign church leaders having been imprisoned or deported since a failed coup in 2016. 

Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, spent two years in prison on trumped up terrorism and espionage charges before being freed after the US imposed economic sanctions on Turkey. 

Last month, CSW says billboards appeared in the conservative, south-western city of Konya encouraging Muslims not to befriend Jews and Christians. 

The charity warns that the Christian minority in the country has been increasingly subjected to animosity, hate speech and anti-Christian sentiments. 

It added that the murder of Kim had brought back painful memories of the 2007 torture and murder of three Christians at a publishing house in the city of Malatya.

Mr Thomas called on the Turkish government to take action to stop the targeting of Christians and other minorities. 

"The government must also crack down on hate speech targeting Christians and other religious minorities, as it facilitates an atmosphere in which these communities are at increased risk," he said.

"We call on the international community to press the Turkish government to end all forms of discrimination against religious minorities, and respect its constitutional obligations to protect and respect the rights of all citizens regardless of their religious affiliation or ethnic background."