This week marks one year since Kabul’s collapse following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Strict Islamic law was institutionalised by the Taliban, which ensured the elimination of religious diversity as well as the social ostracisation of both ethnic and gender minorities. International Christian Concern (ICC) published a report this month called the Afghanistan Humanitarian Brief: Situational Overview for Christian Minorities, which documents the religious freedom impact within the country.
Matias Perttula, ICC’s Director of Advocacy, said, “Early on the Taliban attempted to signal to the world how they have reformed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Taliban continue to persecute and oppress all who do not fall in line with their extremist interpretation of Sharia law. The world must maintain the pressure on the Taliban.”
Afghan Christians are Muslim-Background Believers (MBBs), who are vulnerable to severe human rights abuses because Sharia law penalises conversion away from Islam. ICC’s humanitarian work inside Afghanistan has found that most MBBs belong to the Hazara ethnic minority, several of whom are also women, which further increases their vulnerability to human rights abuses.
ICC’s report documents how Afghan Christians who remain inside the country have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) because they are hiding from the Taliban. Consequently, they are isolated from the humanitarian aid normally provided to IDPs.
Claire Evans, ICC’s Senior Assistance Manager, said, “Whether they remain inside Afghanistan or migrate elsewhere, Afghan Christians cannot seek out humanitarian aid at the same capacity and through the same channels as other Afghans. Consequently, providing humanitarian assistance to Afghan Christians requires a long-term strategy that matches the fluidity of the situation on the ground.”
Pray for the peace, protection and provision of Believers and their families. Pray that their faith will remain firm through opposition and persecution.
Pray for the safe resettlement of Afghan Believers who have been forced to flee Afghanistan.
Pray for unity and fruitfulness for the teams who are working tirelessly to evacuate Afghan Christians.
Source: International Christian Concern, Voice of the Martyrs AU.