WelCom February 2022
Afghanistan is the most dangerous place to be a Christian after the Taliban takeover has emboldened Islamist extremists worldwide, according to a new report.
Afghanistan has replaced North Korea at the top of the World Watch List. North Korea was the worst for Christian persecution on the annual list for 20 years, but has dropped to second place, even though persecution there also increased.
The World Watch List, by Open Doors UK and Ireland, records persecution and discrimination worldwide. Open Doors is a non-denominational Christian organisation, working with persecuted Christians around the world. According to the 2022 list, more than 360 million Christians suffered high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – a rise of 20 million on the previous year.
The number represents one in seven Christians worldwide, the highest levels of persecution since the list was first published 29 years ago.
In Afghanistan, where the Christian population is small and hidden, the report finds that Christian men face almost certain death if their faith is discovered. Women and girls may escape death but may be married to young Taliban fighters who want ‘spoils of war’. After women and girls are raped, they are trafficked.
The report says that after the Taliban government gained access to recordings and reports that helped to identify Christians inside the country, they were often detained and made to identify further networks of Christians before finally being killed.
The fall of Kabul has fuelled a new mood of invulnerability among other jihadist groups worldwide, the report says.
Source: The Tablet, UK