On May 31, the Afghanistan government suspended the operations of two Christian relief organizations over suspicions that they converted Afghans to Christianity, according to media reports. Converting from Islam to Christianity and proselytizing are crimes in Afghanistan.
According to a New York Times report, an Afghan television station broadcast photographs that supposedly showed Westerners baptizing Afghans and Afghans praying at private prayer meetings. The television station, Noorin TV, mentioned the two Christian organizations in the report but later confirmed that it had no evidence linking the organizations to the baptisms or prayer meetings.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Economy, which regulates aid groups in Afghanistan, told The New York Times that there was no evidence against the Christian aid groups. Mohammed Sediq Amarkhiel reportedly said the groups were suspended because television reports “raised suspicions” and “made people very emotional and angry.” Amarkhiel said the government will further investigate the groups’ activities. “If they are really involved in proselytizing Afghan people for Christianity, then definitely these people will be introduced to the judicial authorities,” Amarkhiel said.
The television broadcast led to a protest by Kabul University students and has also fueled anti-Christian sentiment within the Afghan government. According to the Associated Press (AP), the deputy secretary of the Afghan Parliament has called for the execution of Afghan Christians. The AP report quotes the deputy secretary as saying, “Those Afghans that appeared on this video film should be executed in public. The house should order the attorney general and the National Department of Security to arrest these Afghans and execute them.”
Expulsion of these Christian aid organizations is the latest attack against Christians in Afghanistan. In August 2007, the Taliban kidnapped 23 South Korean aid workers from a church group. Two were killed and the rest were released a month later. In 2001, eight international aid workers were imprisoned and charged with preaching Christianity.
The Voice of the Martyrs supports Christians in Afghanistan by providing literature and other ministry tools to indigenous house church leaders. VOM encourages you to pray for believers as they share the gospel in this very difficult region. Pray that their testimony will draw nonbelievers into fellowship with Christ.