08/19/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – In an August 16 statement issued by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), WEA General Secretary Bishop Dr. Thomas Schirramcher called for prayer for Afghanistan. In this statement, Bishop Schirrmacher particularly raised up the plight of Afghan Christians facing severe oppression and persecution under Taliban rule.
“We are deeply concerned about recent developments in Afghanistan and the dire prospects for all those who do not fit into the Taliban vision of society,” Bishop Schirrmacher said. “What is less reported is the plight of religious minorities, including Christians, who have suffered severe oppression over the past twenty years and are now at even greater risk.”
Afghanistan’s Christian community is almost exclusively comprised of converts from Islam. Some estimate the Christian population to be between 8,000 and 12,000, making it one of the country’s largest religious minority groups. 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 consequences 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 coming from convert backgrounds, the Taliban will consider them apostate and subject to Sharia’s deadliest consequences.
According to Bishop Schirrmacher’s statement, he believes the Taliban will consider Afghan Christians infidels and deserving of death.
Prior to the Taliban retaking the country, Open Doors ranked Afghanistan second on its World Watch List. The only country to outrank Afghanistan in Christian persecution on the World Watch List is North Korea. According to Open Doors, persecution in Afghanistan “is only very slightly less oppressive than in North Korea.”
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