Christian Family in Afghanistan Appeals to Pope Francis for Help
08/18/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to the Washington Post, a Christian family in Afghanistan has appealed to Pope Francis to help them flee the country. This news comes days after the country’s capital, Kabul, fell to Taliban fighters.
“I know firsthand how difficult it is to be Christian in that country,” Ali Ehsani, an Afghan Christian living in Italy, told Religion News Service (RNS). “I lived through the horror, the terror of these Taliban.”
According to Ehsani, he is in contact with a Christian family currently trapped in Afghanistan. While the Taliban has promised not to shed any blood, locals fear the Islamist regime will lead to persecution and violence.
Afghanistan’s Christian community is almost exclusively comprised of converts from Islam. Some estimate the Christian population to be as large as 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 make 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.
Ehsani reports that the Christian family is looking to Pope Francis to help them escape the country. Currently, the family is in hiding, fearing discovery by Taliban fighters. The family told Ehsani that “the Taliban are going door to door” asking whether any Christians live in there or in that community.
In a written appeal to Pope Francis, the family wrote, “We hid with the hope of being found as late as possible. But we don’t know for how long we will be able to protect ourselves in this way. These are days of terror and the idea of falling into the hand of soldiers terrifies me.”
Across Afghanistan, similar stories of desperation are being reported by various at-risk communities. Members of these communities, including religious minorities, fear the imposition of Taliban rule will lead to extreme levels of repression and persecution.
For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: email@example.com.