With all the fears in Afghanistan for women, and for those who have worked with US and Nato forces and are in terror of almost certain reprisals, one highly vulnerable group remains almost unnoticed, and yet it faces clear and certain persecution as the Taliban consolidate their hold. That group is, of course, the Afghan Christian community and, indeed, it is already reported that leaders of underground house churches have received letters from the Taliban, warning them that they ‘know where they are and what they are doing’ (https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/for-afghan-christians-the-taliban-takeover-is-a-nightmare).
This is ominous in the extreme. It is difficult to know the precise number of Christians in Afghanistan, because, forming an almost miniscule minority set against the dominance of Islam, which sees conversion as apostasy and punishable by death, they have long been accustomed to exercise their faith in secret. Estimates, therefore, vary from anything between 20,000 and 1,000. What is certain, however, is that in this country, already ranked as the second most dangerous place in the world for religious persecution, believers now face an almost unimaginable future.
It should be remembered that even under Western influence, converts to Christianity faced a real risk of being disowned by their family, clan or tribe. If they were lucky, they were diagnosed as mentally ill and sectioned – if unlucky and couldn’t get to a place of safety, they were, as like as not, killed. But under the Taliban, the gloves will be well and truly off and it is almost certain that Christianity will be ruthlessly suppressed.
How strange then that, amongst all the media warnings of Taliban reprisal and summary execution of those who, for whatever reason they don’t like – whether women considered to have ideas above their station, or individuals who have collaborated with Allied forces – no mention is made of this most persecuted and endangered group. Yet this community, more than any other, will without any shadow of doubt be singled out by the Taliban for extermination.
This is scandalous. Yes, those now seeking asylum should most definitely be helped – it is, after all, our fault that they are facing the current situation. But amongst those fleeing persecution, certain violence and death, the extreme plight of Christians should, as a matter of priority, be recognised and given help.
Please write to your MP today and to the press, calling for their rescue. Let’s make our voices heard on behalf of our beleaguered brothers and sisters and get a campaign going for their rescue from what in all likelihood will be certain death.
At its heart, this is a spiritual battle, with evil as ever seeking to destroy light and truth. To make a mockery of Christ’s sacrifice and destroy humanity’s only chance of salvation and life. It cannot and must not succeed.