09/15/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – Some voices in the United States are calling on the government to limit the number of refugees entering from Afghanistan to the U.S. The Biden administration’s current stance is favorable towards accepting a large number of refugees—earlier this year, it announced a dramatic increase in refugee admissions compared to the previous administration. Though the recent events in Afghanistan have demonstrated the need for a robust international response to the refugee problem, critics of the administration’s generous refugee admissions policy argue that insufficient steps are being taken to vet incoming refugees.
However, the situation is not as simple as limiting refugees to the U.S.—those fleeing Afghanistan are in severe danger from the Taliban, and their safety must be of prime concern. Among those at risk of Taliban violence are religious minority communities. The Taliban considers Christians apostates since the Christian community in Afghanistan is mostly comprised of converts from Islam.
The United States—a nation founded by a community of persecuted immigrants—should have a robust and generous refugee policy, especially for those fleeing religious persecution. Christians are one of the most at-risk communities in Afghanistan, and there is no doubt that the Taliban will vigorously discriminate against its members.
“As the U.S. considers the difficult questions prompted by the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, it’s important to remember that U.S. policy should be driven by our fundamental values and freedoms, which embrace our humble founding as a nation of immigrants seeking religious freedom,” said Matias Perttula, Director of Advocacy at International Christian Concern. “Religious minorities fleeing for their lives from Afghanistan should be welcomed with open arms in the United States.”
Afghan Christians make up a small community of roughly 12,000 people. Most are converts from Islam, making them subject to the deadliest punishments according to the Taliban’s extremist interpretation of Islam.
The United States’ withdrawal from Afghanistan sparked a mass exodus of at-risk communities and Afghans wanting to escape the Taliban. Scenes of chaos, despair and violence unfolded at the Kabul airport, culminating in targeted bombings by ISIS-K, which killed 13 U.S. service members and scores of Afghan nationals.
The Biden administration has repeatedly attempted to shift the blame off itself for its mishandling of the crisis. Still, voices from both parties have sharply criticized the botched evacuation and called on the administration to consider how it can best serve the Afghan people as the new Taliban government takes control.
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