Christian Persecution Nov/Dec 2021
Pray for the Christians in Afghanistan
As the world watched videos and images of people trying to escape the Sharia regime the Taliban is imposing in Afghanistan, reports have emerged of Christians who are expecting arrest, torture, and execution.
The Taliban are going door to door, forcing girls as young as 12 to be married off as sex slaves to Taliban fighters. “The women in these communities are particularly vulnerable,” Nadine Maenza told ALL ARAB NEWS. Maenza is a policy expert and advocate for international religious freedom and serves on the ALL ARAB NEWS Advisory Board.
In an emotional post on Instagram, Robby Dawkins—an American evangelist who has worked in Afghanistan—said he was speaking with believers there until he “lost all contact with them.” “[The Taliban] are not looking for converts at this point, they are looking for extermination of Christians,” he said.
Dawkins appealed to Christians to pray for Afghani believers for protection, boldness, and miracles. The Taliban have “no plan for good, only harm and destruction in their path,” he said.
But Dawkins believes Afghanistan can be saved. He calls it the second fastest-growing church on the planet, after Iran. The nation has been ranked by Open Doors as the world’s second-worst persecutor of Christians for years.
Release International, an organization that monitors and helps persecuted Christians around the world, warned that attacks on Christians are likely to rise across the region, not just in Afghanistan. Release International CEO Paul Robinson said, “The resurgence of the Taliban will fan the flames of Islamist extremism. Pakistan especially may be impacted by the new mood of militancy—which can only be bad news for the region’s Christians.”
Another Christian described the situation as “dire.” “Our brothers and sisters in Christ are telling us how afraid they are. In the areas that the Taliban now control, girls are not allowed to go to school and women are not allowed to leave their homes without a male companion.”
To be exposed as a Christian risks being charged with apostasy, which is punishable by death or imprisonment. There have also been honor killings of Christians by their families.
In the past, foreign Christian workers have been murdered, and many have long since left the country. Many secret believers are fleeing the Taliban, whose version of Islam is violent and extreme. But many Christians are poor and cannot afford to leave. They will be left behind.
International Christian Concern noted, “Afghanistan’s Christians are already mostly underground. The country has only one Catholic church, tucked away in the Italian embassy, and even that closed in response to the pandemic. The 2004 constitution of Afghanistan severely limits religious freedom, forbidding the open preaching of the gospel and restricting conversion to Christianity.”
In Mission Network News, Katey Hearth said Christians “know what to expect” based on the Taliban’s previous control of the country.
“We don’t have to wonder what they’re going to do. We’ve seen it,” said Todd Nettleton of Voice of the Martyrs (VOM). “It is not good news for our Christian brothers and sisters. It’s not good news for anybody in Afghanistan.” He added, “It won’t be worse in the level of persecution, but I think it will be worse in terms of the numbers because there are more Christians in Afghanistan than there were 20 years ago. We know there are followers of Jesus Christ in every single province of Afghanistan.”
by Nicole Jansezian, news editor for both ALL ARAB NEWS and ALL ISRAEL NEWS. Editor-in-chief is Joel C. Rosenberg.