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Afghanistan Facts

Score:93/ 100
Region:Central Asia
Persecution Type:Ethnic antagonism
Persecution Level:Extreme
Population:37,209,000
Christians:Thousands, unspecified
Main Religion:Islam
Government:Islamic republic
Leader:President Ashraf Ghani

Profile of Persecution

Violence 60%
Church Life 99%
National Life 99%
Community Life 99%
Family Life 99%
Private Life 99%

An Islamic society where Christianity exists in secret

Afghanistan is a tribal society, and loyalty to one’s family, clan and tribe are extremely important. As an Islamic society, it is illegal for an Afghani person to leave Islam. The country is increasingly challenged by Islamic militants, the Taliban controls or contests more and more areas, and an ISIS-affiliated group also targets minorities. Those who decide to follow Jesus do so in secret.

How Christians are suffering

Those who are discovered to be Christians may be sent to a mental hospital—because their families believe no sane person would leave Islam. They may also be beaten or even killed by family members, or members of Islamic extremist groups like the Taliban. Violence against Christians remains very high, but the measures taken against converts depends on the family. One Christian in Afghanistan says, “How we survive daily, only God knows. He knows because He has been kind to dwell with us. But we are tired of all the death around us.”

Examples

There are reports that several Christians have been killed in the World Watch List 2020 reporting period, but for security reasons, no details can be published.

Any visible acts of Christian worship are dangerous. As all religious ‘changes’ are noticed and reported, this often means that converts have to relocate; neighborhood pressure and the influence of the Taliban and ISIS is strong. If someone is found even exploring any faith other than Islam (and especially if they are suspected of having converted), the penalty can be death. Christians will be employed as long as it is believed they are Afghan Muslims. If it is discovered that they are even exploring Christianity (e.g. via websites in the internet), immediate action is taken to re-indoctrinate them until they and (any group involved) comply. This can mean torture.

Population statistic: Johnson T M and Zurlo G A, eds., World Christian Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, accessed April 2019).
Number of Christians statistic is an Open Doors estimate.

 

Pray for Afghanistan

  • Converts from Islam face strong pressure from their loved ones to recant their Christian faith. Pray for courage and protection for these believers who must live their faith in secret.
  • Pray for openness to religions outside of Islam in this country where conversion is not allowed.
  • The small number of Christian converts in the country must remain in hiding. The increasing level of violence creates a general sense of insecurity and there are no signs of improvement for the foreseeable future. Please pray for stability and peace.
  • Radical groups like ISIS use universities to spread their ideology and recruit new fighters. Pray students and professors would have wisdom and discernment.

Stories from Afghanistan

March 10, 2020

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Every day, 8 Christians killed for their decision to follow Jesus

In-depth research for Open Doors' 2020 World Watch List shows that at least eight Christians, largely in Sub-Saharan Africa, die at the hands of persecutors (extremists, family members and state authorities) each day. Read More

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