So … where are the hidden converts to Christianity in Afghanistan? Can journalists find them? – GetReligion
Yes, there are the fake stories over there, according to this August 20 United States today piece, about missionaries supposed to be put to death. Some of these reports have gone viral on social media.
All of this shows that no one is reliably reporting on these trapped people. Everything is done by word of mouth and it is quite possible that the people who know the most about the situation on the ground will not speak because any tidbit of information leaked can lead to someone’s death.
But many evangelicals are sick with worry for their trapped Christian brothers and sisters. Everyone from Anne Graham Lotz (eldest daughter of Billy Graham) to the leaders of the Gospel Coalition talk about that secretive population of pastors and converts that has prospered in one way or another since the takeover of the United States.
It’s like this open secret and now videos of sobbing Afghan Christians are available. “The whole world has abandoned us … in the worst possible situation,” said the man in the video at the top of this page. If he dies, he hopes that someone will take care of his children.
Imagine having to save that one. Of course, journalists, political activists and liberal Muslims are also right on target, as tmatt has repeatedly pointed out. But the new Christians will be annihilated for sure, because any departure from Islam is considered worthy of death. Check it out article in The hill for a quick introduction to what Islamic Sharia law entails.
This is how the US State Department estimated that it drafted a Boffo Afghan constitution in 2004, expressly protecting what Americans see as the human rights of women and religious minorities. But to be accepted in Afghanistan, this constitution had to stipulate that no law could override Sharia, and that as long as there was an inconsistency, Sharia governs.
Understandably, progressives were shocked when, despite the parchment of promises of religious freedom, Afghan apostates continued to be sentenced to death immediately after the constitution was passed.
There are organizations that claim to speak on behalf of the underground church in Afghanistan, such as this group who shared the following:
The Taliban go door to door taking women and children. People have to mark their homes with an “X” if they have a daughter over 12, so the Taliban can take them. If they find a young girl and the house has not been marked, they will execute the whole family. If a married woman aged 25 or over is found, the Taliban quickly kill her husband, do whatever they want to him, then sell her as a sex slave.
Husbands and fathers gave guns to their wives and daughters and told them that when the Taliban come they can choose to kill them or commit suicide, it is their choice.
What is interesting later in this document is the claim that the church is “growing[ing] at a historic rate ”in Afghanistan just behind Iran where evangelical Protestants openly multiply. Christianity today made a story about this last year although it is impossible to enter Iran to determine whether people are truly converting to Christianity or just disgusted with 42 years of Islamic rule.
The Economist also tried report on the Iranian church earlier this year. It’s a story that many of us would love to put our claws in, given the time and resources it takes to attempt this job.
So if the same groundwork is laid in Afghanistan, what religious journalist wouldn’t want to take a look? Christianity today gathered as many people as possible who knew about the Hidden Church in Afghanistan in this article.
You can take some clues from this article about what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan. One of the more interesting comments is that of an “Asian mission leader” who suggested that where Western missionaries left off, Chinese missionaries (who will no doubt enter the country under cover of businessmen working with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative) will resume.
I see some pretty amazing stories there. I’ve wanted to do a story for years on secret Chinese missions to Muslim lands, but when the mere presence of a journalist endangers those you interview, the story must be dropped.
What do we know? In the near future, the story will be dark. For those with a teenage daughter, it is only a matter of days before she is dragged into being forcibly “married” to a Taliban fighter. This is Chibok again (what happened to Christian girls in northern Nigeria). God only knows what awaits the young sons who will be forced to fight.
Are these people going to hide in rural villages? Mountains? In the towns ?
Yes, much of the material online about what’s going on there is anecdotal and scattered. While looking for links, I saw that one church posted this: “Most churches in Afghanistan expect to be martyred within the next two weeks. Unlike Rula Ghani, the Maronite Christian wife of ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, they don’t have the luxury of leaving.
Fortunately, unlike the old days of the Taliban, there is much better communication, phone lines, social media, and more effective radio broadcasts to find out what is going on in Afghanistan.
There are Christian news networks that know what is happening on the ground in this country and it is possible to obtain digital images and reports to turn rumors into reports. This is where great reporters need to start if they hope to provide a comprehensive history of religious life under the Taliban 2.0.
We know the stories exist. Where are the media outlets that are willing to report them?