08/30/2021 Afghanistan (International Christian Concern) – According to NBC News, religious and ethnic minorities in Afghanistan are bracing for increased persecution following the Taliban’s takeover of the country. Among the minorities bracing for persecution is the country’s small and secretive Christian community.
Since the U.S. announced its intention to withdraw from Afghanistan on April 13, the Taliban quickly took control of the country. On August 15, Taliban forces entered Kabul, effectively asserting complete control over Afghanistan.
“Afghanistan’s diverse ethnic and religious minorities are at risk of violence and repression,” Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations human rights chief, said last week. According to the Bachelet, the Taliban’s history, and reports of killings in the past few months, support this concern.
According to Amnesty International, the Taliban has already murdered nine Hazara men, a Shia ethnic minority, after taking control of the Ghazni province last month. The Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard, said that the “cold-blooded” killings are a “horrific indicator” of what Taliban rule could bring.
With the Taliban in power, many Christians fear they will also be targeted and severely persecuted.
“Some known Christians are already receiving threatening phone calls,” the Christian leader told International Christian Concern (ICC) in the days following Kabul’s fall. “In these phone calls, unknown people say, ‘We are coming for you.’”
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.
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