Afghan Christians Likely to Face Increased Persecution
09/13/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the former acting CIA Director, Michael Morell, has said that he believes the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan will have “inspired jihadists all over the world” and that the country could quickly become “jihadist central.” For the country’s already persecuted Christian community, the addition of more extremists in Afghanistan will likely lead to more persecution.
“I think not only will jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central,” Morell told CBS’s Face the Nation.
“After 9/11, they all scattered from Afghanistan,” Morell continued. “I think we are going to see a flow back in, and that’s one of the things that makes Afghanistan more dangerous than other spots on the planet.”
On August 15, Taliban fighters entered Kabul in a lightning-fast victory over the former government’s security forces. Last week, the Taliban declared victory in their battle against resistance forces led by Ahmed Massoud in the Panjshir Valley, effectively placing the Taliban in complete control of Afghanistan.
On September 7, the Taliban announced the formation of an interim governing cabinet for Afghanistan. Many in the international community have express concern over the number of hardliners appointed to positions of power who oversaw the Taliban’s oppressive rule of Afghanistan in the 1990s.
In a video marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri appeared. Many experts believe al-Zawahiri, if alive, is currently hiding in Afghanistan.
“Al-Qaeda could bounce back in as quickly as 12 months in Afghanistan if we don’t do what we need to do,” Morell told CBS. “The Taliban is harboring Al-Qaeda today. And I think that is a very important point.”
For Afghanistan’s small and secretive Christian community, the Taliban seizing control of the country and the creation of a haven for other extremists will likely lead to more persecution.
Many estimate the Christian population of Afghanistan to be as many as 12,000, making it one of the country’s largest religious minorities. Afghan Christians are almost all converts from Islam, making them prime targets for severe persecution under the Taliban’s brutal interpretation of Sharia law.
According to the Taliban’s ideology, Afghanistan is a Muslim country that must be ruled through their interpretation of Sharia. Non-Muslims must decide to either leave Afghanistan or accept second-class status.
For Afghan Christians, the Taliban will consider them apostates due to their conversion to Christianity. Leaving Islam is considered extremely shameful and converts face dire consequences if their conversions are discovered. As apostates, Afghan Christians will be subject to Sharia’s deadliest consequences under the Taliban’s rule.
ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, said, “The persecution facing Afghan Christians prior to the Taliban’s takeover of the country was already bad enough. Many experts considered Afghanistan to be close to the most dangerous country in the world for Christians. Now that the Taliban has retaken control of the country and will likely attract other extremists from around the world, it would not be a surprise if Afghanistan became the most dangerous country in the world for Christians. As converts from Islam, Afghan Christians will not be viewed as a religious minority, but a community of criminals the Taliban and others who share their ideology must punish. More must be done to protect this vulnerable community.”
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