Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Wednesday 09 March 2011
Lent Prayer - Afghanistan
Project(s): 01-998, 01-901
Country/Region: Afghanistan, South and East Asia
|The tiny Christian minority are under immense pressure from persecution in Afghanistan (Source: Hadi Zaher, Wikimedia Commons)|
Said Musa (45), a father of six, was arrested at the end of May 2010 as part of a crackdown against Afghan converts from Islam to Christianity. This was prompted by TV footage that month showing converts, including scenes of baptisms. The footage triggered a frenzied anti-Christian response, and some leading political figures in parliament even called for the execution of converts, in accordance with sharia law. Many Christians fled as homes in Kabul were searched, and a number of Christians were arrested, including Said.
The population of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is almost 100% Muslim, yet, praise the Lord, there is a tiny Christian presence, including a few thousand Afghan converts from Islam. The Afghan constitution states that Islam is “the religion of the state” and that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam”. Although it also guarantees religious freedom, including the right to change one’s faith, most Afghan Muslims seem to believe – in line with Islamic teaching – that the death sentence is appropriate for converts. There are over 45,000 mosques in Afghanistan, but not a single church building except in one foreign embassy; it is unsafe for the Afghan Christians to reveal their faith or to worship openly.
Afghanistan endured five years of rule by the Taliban (1996-2001), who imposed a more extreme interpretation of Islam than any of the classical schools of sharia. The Taliban were ousted in the 2001 American-led invasion, but a violent insurgency led by Taliban militants has destabilised much of the country. Progress towards stability and protection for minorities is painfully slow.
Barnabas Aid projects in Afghanistan include:
This article is taken from
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