08/16/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – Following the withdraw of the United States and NATO allies, the Taliban has retaken control of Afghanistan in a stunning collapse of the country. Fear and uncertainty surround the future of Afghanistan under Taliban rule and many minorities, including Christians, fear the imposition of the Taliban’s strict interpretation of Sharia will result in increased persecution.
Since the U.S. announced its intention to withdraw from Afghanistan on April 13, the Taliban has quickly taken control of the country. Yesterday, Taliban forces entered Kabul, effectively asserting complete control of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s Christian community is almost exclusively comprised of converts from Islam. Some estimate the Christian population to be between 10,000 and 12,000, making it the country’s largest religious minority group. However, due to extreme persecution, the Christian community remains largely closeted and hidden from the public eye.
Their status as converts makes Afghan Christians direct targets for persecution by both extremist groups and society in general. In Afghanistan, leaving Islam is considered extremely shameful and converts can face dire consequence if their conversion is discovered.
In many cases, known Christians must flee Afghanistan or risk being killed.
According to the Taliban’s ideology, Afghanistan is a Muslim country and non-Muslims must leave Afghanistan or accept second class status. For Christians, who come from convert backgrounds, the Taliban will likely consider them apostate and subject to Sharia’s deadliest consequences.
Open Doors ranks Afghanistan second on its World Watch List. The only country to outrank Afghanistan in Christian persecution is North Korea. According to Open Doors, persecution in Afghanistan “is only very slightly less oppressive than in North Korea.”
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