Islamist Taliban Killing Afghan Christians, Bible Apps Banned and Women's Right Comes Amid Worries
“We are hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people’s phones. And if they find a downloaded Bible on your device, they will kill you immediately,” said SAT-7 North America President Dr. Rex Rogers. “It’s incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones. The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere.”
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Islamist Taliban militants ruling Afghanistan have begun executing Christians who refuse to renounce their faith, a well-informed Christian broadcaster said on Tuesday. Among those killed are people with a Bible on their smartphone, noted SAT-7 TV, which reaches millions of viewers in the Middle East and North Africa.
“We’re hearing from reliable sources that the Taliban demand people’s phones. And if they find a downloaded Bible on your device, they will kill you immediately,” said SAT-7 North America President Dr. Rex Rogers. “It’s incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones. The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere.”
SAT-7 also reported that “the resurgent” Taliban fighters “go door-to-door, executing believers who refuse to renounce their faith.” Taliban militants “are even pulling people off public transport and killing them on the spot if they’re Christians or considered ethnically ‘impure,’” SAT-7 added. News of the executions come a day after the Taliban announced at a news conference it would introduce its strict interpretation of Islam or “sharia” law.
That added additional concerns among minority Christians, up to 18,000 by some account, most of whom abandoned Islam. Under sharia, anyone becoming a non-Muslim is punishable by death. A non-Muslim, such as a Christian, who leads a Muslim away from Islam also faces execution.
SAT-7 suggested that this was a result of the withdrawal of U.S. and international troops from Afghanistan. Without the U.S.-led coalition standing in the way, the Taliban could seize control of vast areas “with little or no resistance,” the broadcaster said.
It happened “much more rapidly than political and military leaders anticipated,” SAT-7 stressed. Amid the chaos and killings, SAT-7 was seen as a lifeline for Christians, suggested Rogers. “Because it’s so dangerous to seek the company of other Christians, many Afghan believers are totally alone, with not even one other Christian with whom to talk to,” Rogers said. “Our local director told me: ‘Most dare not attend a house church. They’re alone, fearful, and looking to us. We’re their last resort.”
SAT-7 said its broadcasts in Farsi — understood by most Afghans — and the local Dari language can reach homes across the entire country uncensored. It is “delivering the only source of hope for thousands of isolated Afghan Christians living in terror.”
Women's right also comes amid worries that the new Taliban leadership will curtail the rights of women and girls. “Many women who have become Christians through the media ministry include those who have battled depression and even attempted suicide. They are now are offering insight, information, and encouragement on-air to other women who are terrified of the Taliban and its oppressive ideology,” SAT-7 said. Furthermore co-education is also said to have been banned by the Taliban.
“They are saying, ‘We’ve trusted in God’s providence and protection — and you can, too, because God loves you and cares about you,’” SAT-7’s Rogers added. “They remind them that Jesus said: ‘But take heart! I have overcome the world’” in Bible verse John 16:33. “There are no borders to our visible message of God’s love and hope,” Rogers said.
“Many are leaving Afghanistan right now, but we are there on-air — and we will remain there.” He said the channel’s social media and live-chat platforms had experienced a massive surge in the number of Afghans posting messages. Afghans are also calling the ministry’s viewer counseling line “desperate for encouragement and hope,” the broadcaster said.
The Nicosia, Cyprus-based channel said it expects a 50 percent increase in contacts with viewers this year. Launched 25 years ago, SAT-7’s shows now reach more than 25 million viewers across the Middle East and North Africa in three languages — Arabic, Farsi, and Turkish, according to its estimates.
Credit: Worthy News and SAT-7