Afghanistan ranks first in the 2022 Global Index of Christian Persecution by the NGO Open Doors. Hana, a partner of the organization present on the spot, testifies to the persecution of which Christians are victims in this Asian country and calls to pray for them.
Since 2018, Afghanistan has been ranked second in the Global Christian Persecution Index published annually by the NGO Open Doors.
With the arrival of the Taliban to power last August, the country which has seen the level of violence against Christians explode, has come to the top of the ranking. A place occupied for 20 years by North Korea. Yet, as the organization points out, the persecution in North Korea has escalated further, but not as much as in Afghanistan.
To better understand why the Taliban-ruled country is in the #2022 in the XNUMX Index, Open Doors shares the testimony of one of their partners, Hana (for security reasons, this is an alias editor's note) present on the ground.
Hana asserts that hostility towards Christianity is nothing new in Afghanistan. “There was hostility towards the faith before the Taliban” she reports before adding that “Christians are not considered a legitimate presence in Afghanistan. They are not welcome, housed or cared for. »
However, the situation worsened further after the Taliban took power. Christians are more “vulnerable” than ever, because as Hana reveals, “if they are discovered as believers, they are immediately considered traitors, enemies of the state, enemies of their tribe and their community. The punishment for this is death”.
She adds that believers are "absolutely hated", in the current context they are deprived of many basic services such as access to healthcare.
“In a country like Afghanistan, medical care is paid for by a religious tax, and once people find out that someone has turned away from Islam, they no longer have the right to access this service. »
While many fled the country in August, some are still in the territory, risking their lives.
Hana believes that those who left generally did so for their families, to protect their children. While those who choose to stay, do so by "commitment". “Those who choose to stay specifically say they are staying because of the work God has started,” she reports.
Still, she adds that those who remain in the country should hide and exercise caution. She describes their difficult daily life as the Taliban blockade towns, lock highways and cause blackouts.
“Christians must live with caution. Cities are blocked because of the Taliban. The Taliban are closing communities to find people hostile to their cause. They lock down highways and cause power outages. »
If the situation of Christians was already complex before August, Hana reports that they could at least see each other, exchange and pray among themselves outside public places. “Now, with the new government, even these few precious treasures have been taken away,” she laments.
The Christian says she still has hope because she witnesses God's work and how His church continues to grow against all odds.
“I have a lot of hope because the reason why there are believers who remain is not because of the intervention of a human being – it is the only work of God and the Holy Spirit . No human effort can go against the powers and principalities working here. You can take all the planes in the world and get all the believers out of this country, but those who stay will still have dreams and visions. There will always be persecutions, but God will continue to grow His church. »
At the conclusion of his interview with Open doors, Hana issues a call to prayer for Christians in Afghanistan.
“Prayer is not an inactive and passive thing that people think about; it's what drives us to the next step because it's what drives us. Pray that Jesus will tell us what we need to do, and that he will give us endurance. If they (the local Muslims) pray five times a day, we have to pray 24 hours a day.”
“Pray for the displaced who are separated from their families, pray for those whose dreams are snatched from them and pray that they will know the comfort of God,” she continues.
Camille Westphal Perrier
Image Credit: Image Credit / Trent Inness
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