The plight of Afghan Christians

The Taliban’s takeover means death for Christians left behind in Afghanistan

Christians left in Afghanistan are, as feared, already being martyred.

Afghan refugee Nafisa Alwozai
Afghan refugee Nafisa Alwozai grew up
under Taliban rule in the 1990s and now
lives in Turkey with her family. She does
not believe the new regime will be more

The Taliban have killed Christians who have been discovered to have Bibles on their phones, according to ASSIST News. Media ministry SAT-7 reported that Taliban militants have pulled Christians off public transport and killed them on the spot.

Leaders of the underground Church in Afghanistan released an official statement that said: “The Taliban has a hit list of known Christians they are targeting to pursue and kill… They are going door-to-door taking women and children… If they find a young girl and the house was not marked [by the family as having a girl] they will execute the entire family.”

The Taliban had already been knocking on doors in Kabul to order people to attend mosques and identifying those who refused.
Dr Mike Evans of Jerusalem Prayer Team is in contact with an organisation building “pathways to safety” for Christians. He says: “The Taliban has targeted more than 400 villages where underground churches and believers are active… these people are truly facing a life-or-death crisis.”

Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey has criticised the government for leaving Christians to suffer at the hands of the Taliban.
Lord Carey, a patron of Barnabas Fund, explained why Christians are in such danger: “The Hanafi school of Sharia [law] which predominates in Afghanistan specifies death for male apostates and imprisonment for female apostates. The Taliban have a record of ultra-strict interpretation of Sharia.”

Around 5,100 Afghan Christians escaped in an airlift before the Taliban stopped further planes from leaving.

Glenn Beck of the Nazarene Fund, which financed the rescue, said, “The [US] State Department blocked us every step of the way.” Gatestone Institute reported that “US officials… prevented the escape of a group of 500 Christians, mostly women and children, who were ordered outside of Kabul airport’s protected area.”

Beck added: “I have pictures of them… pleading to get back through the gate. I have pictures of blood and body parts and nothing but death in that same area [of the airport]… I don’t know how many survived.”

By contrast, The New American reports that “at least 100” Afghan refugees being flown out of Kabul are on terror watch lists, with one man
allegedly working for Isis.

Lord Carey also recalled Britain’s poor track record on helping Christian victims of Islamic fundamentalism:
“The much-trumpeted relocation scheme from Syria almost completely ignored the needs of Christians, who had experienced the most persecution.”

At the time of writing, no specific help for Christians left behind in Afghanistan had been put forward by the government, while countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic and Poland had prioritised Christians fleeing from persecution. Despite ranking second only to North Korea as the country where Christians are most persecuted, many believe that Afghanistan also is home to “the second-fastest growing Church in the world, next to Iran,” according to Mark Ellis of God Reports. Joel Richardson of Global Catalytic Ministries has received reports of Afghan Christians risking their lives by choosing to stay and share the Gospel – in one case even studying the Bible with the Taliban.

North Korea aims to wipe out all Christians

The two statues of Kim Jong Un's predecessors, the 'Dear Leaders', in Pyongyang
The two statues of Kim Jong Un’s predecessors, the ‘Dear Leaders’, in Pyongyang

The clearly genocidal nature of the North Korean government’s campaign against Christians has been documented in a report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

The country’s communist dictatorship seeks to “exterminate all Christian adherents and institutions” through imprisonment, torture, executions and the denial of religious freedom.

The USCIRF report, ‘Organised Persecution – Documenting Religious Freedom Violations in North Korea’, says the regime’s policies are “designed to remove all traces of Christianity”.

The state-sponsored persecution is “brutally effective” and includes a network of informants that extends into China and “‘no-exit’ political prison camps”, plus anti-Christian propaganda in education and the media.

Open Doors USA comments: “Being discovered as a Christian is a death sentence in North Korea.”

Under the current leader Kim Jong Un, the number of prison camps has expanded and now holds around 50,000-70,000 Christians.

China offers bribes to betray Christians

An increasing number of Chinese city, district and county governments are offering cash to anyone who informs the authorities of “illegal religious activities”.

Citizens can be rewarded with between 500 yuan (£56) and 1,000 yuan (£112) for reporting on Christian home groups, unregistered preachers and preaching, support from foreign missions, literature distribution or showing Christian films outside of official churches.

The policy is part of the ongoing campaign against Christians by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Muslim relatives suffocate convert

The ant mound where body of Saban Sajabi was found in Kabula
The ant mound where the body of Saban Sajabi was found in Kabula Uganda

A  former Islamic teacher in Uganda was murdered when relatives hired a mob to kill him.

Saban Sajabi taught Islam in mosques and schools in eastern Uganda until an uncle led him to Christ in 2015. He fled Jinja that year after receiving death threats, but he received further threats from his family after marrying a Christian.

In July, a relative phoned to say that the uncle who led him to Christ was seriously ill, so Sajabi and his wife rushed to visit him. But it was a trap. On arriving at the town where his uncle lived, six men attacked Sajabi.

Sajabi’s wife told Morning Star News: “They started beating my husband and then dragged him to a nearby anthill, dug into it and pushed his head inside, and he breathed his last.”

She was told she would be killed if she tried to escape to get help. One of the attackers told her that Sajabi was killed because he had not returned to Islam.

It is also alleged that the police have not investigated the murder.

Teenage Indian pastor in acid attack

When a 16-year-old Indian pastor refused to stop daily prayer meetings in his house, despite death threats, he was severely burned with acid.

According to the Christian Post he was selling vegetables in his village when anti-Christian activists threw acid over him, burning 85 per cent of his body. He had become a pastor at such a young age because there are so few Christian leaders.

Premier News reported that the teenager is called Nitish Kumar and the attack “terrified the Christian community in the region” and that violence against Christians is becoming “more brutal”.

Persecution is increasingly common in parts of India. Christian Post reporter Michael Brown says: “During one meeting with a few hundred Christian leaders, I asked them, ‘How many of you have been physically attacked for preaching the Gospel, not just verbally attacked, but physically attacked?’ About three-quarters of them raised their hands.”

12 children killed in latest Nigeria atrocities

A funeral on 28 August held by the Anglican Diocese of Jos for 17 of the 33 Christians killed on 25 August in Yelwa Zangam, Plateau State

Among 40 Christians killed in and near Jos in Nigeria this August were 12 children.

Morning Star News report that the children died in attacks by Fulani herdsmen on 15 and 25 August that killed 33 Christians. In addition, seven Christians were murdered by suspected local Muslims in the same area.

Rev Jacob Kwashi
The Rev Jacob Kwashi at a funeral for Christians killed in Zangon Kataf County, Nigeria  – Poto Morning Star News

The herdsmen killed 16 Christians with machetes and guns and 17 died when their homes were set on fire. An auditorium of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Jos also was set ablaze by local Muslims.

In separate attacks in August, Fulani herdsmen killed 36 Christians in Kaduna State and over 50 people in the town of Miango near Jos in Plateau State. According to Release International, many of the injured in the Miango massacre had to treat themselves because they could not afford to go to hospital. About 300 homes, two churches and an orphanage were also destroyed in the attack, and more than 20,000 residents were displaced.



Catholic News Service