Afghanistan’s ancient Christian community was finally driven out by Islamist conquest in the fourteenth century. The return to power of the Taliban in September 2021 threatens to do the same to a new generation of Christian converts. The Taliban gave Christians three choices: leave, reconvert to Islam, or face death.
Afghanistan’s Christians are first-generation converts from Islam and their children, and according to sharia (Islamic law) apostates who should be executed. According to the Hanafi school of Islam, which historically dominates in Afghanistan, this applies only to sane adult males – but there is no doubt that in the Taliban’s strict interpretation all apostates would face death.
Many Christians chose to flee. Barnabas is working tirelessly to assist Christians to find safe refuge. At the time of writing, 54 believers have been able to settle in Brazil.
There were an estimated 5,000 to 8,000 believers in Afghanistan. Only the Lord knows the exact figure, but it is certainly far fewer now. Those who remain must keep their faith secret. As well as the fear of being discovered by Taliban fighters, who have gone door to door searching for Christians and confiscated mobile phones to search for Christian content, converts also face death at the hands of family and former friends.
Christians also share in the general hunger and destitution of Afghanistan, which suffers from Taliban mis-government as well as Western-imposed sanctions and confiscation of assets. There are reports of people selling organs or even their children just to survive. For Christians in hiding it is impossible to earn an income.
Working in much secrecy and danger, our partners in the country have used your donations to provide for their basic needs.
Intercede for Christians who remain in Afghanistan, that the Lord will protect them from harm and continue to provide for their needs. Ask that those who have fled into neighbouring countries will be able to find a safe place to settle. Pray that those in Brazil will adjust well to their new context.