On Wednesday, the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis hosted a webinar entitled “Engaging White Christian Nationalism in Public Spaces.” One panelist was woke academic Jemar Tisby, author of a book entitled The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American Church’s Complicity in Racism. Tisby claimed that “white Christian nationalism advocates for a fusion of Christianity with an American civic belonging that is unapologetically white in identity and politics.” He said that in response to the threat, “hashtag activism” isn’t going to be enough; what is required is “direct action, nonviolent protests and marches and, as we have seen already, people getting arrested.” Tisby may be happy to learn that the Taliban are already taking that direct action: They’re going door to door, hunting down Afghanistan’s Christians.
The day before this webinar, “leaders in the underground Church” in Afghanistan issued a chilling statement: “What we are witnessing right now is the decimation of the country and people of Afghanistan. We are watching twenty years of work and the strengthening of a nation being destroyed in a single day.”
The work they were referring to involved preaching Christianity in this Islamic nation. Now the Afghans who have converted to Christianity are in mortal danger. The statement continued: “The Taliban has a hit list of known Christians they are targeting to pursue and kill. The U.S. Embassy is defunct and there is no longer a safe place for believers to take refuge. All borders to neighboring countries are closed and all flights to and from have been halted, with the exception of private planes. People are fleeing into the mountains looking for asylum. They are fully reliant on God, who is the only One who can and will protect them.”
If they don’t find a place to hide, the consequences could be horrific: “The Taliban are going door-to-door taking women and children. The people must mark their house with an ‘X’ if they have a girl over 12 years old, so that the Taliban can take them. If they find a young girl and the house was not marked they will execute the entire family. If a married woman 25 years or older has been found, the Taliban promptly kill her husband, do whatever they want to her, and then sell her as a sex slave.”
When they find a suspected Christian, Taliban jihadis search his or her phone. Rex Rogers of SAT-7, a Christian media ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, said Tuesday: “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. It’s incredibly dangerous right now for Afghans to have anything Christian on their phones. The Taliban have spies and informants everywhere.”
Rogers described the desperate situation of Afghanistan’s Christians: “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. 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.’”
The Christians of Afghanistan are in such severe danger these days because virtually all of them are converts from Islam, and the Taliban are scrupulous about implementing Islamic law—and the death penalty for apostasy is very much part of Islamic law. It’s based on the Qur’an: “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper” (Qur’an 4:89).
A hadith depicts Muhammad saying: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57). The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, both Sunni and Shi’ite. Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the most renowned and prominent Muslim cleric in the world, has stated: “The Muslim jurists are unanimous that apostates must be punished, yet they differ as to determining the kind of punishment to be inflicted upon them. The majority of them, including the four main schools of jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali) as well as the other four schools of jurisprudence (the four Shiite schools of Az-Zaidiyyah, Al-Ithna-‘ashriyyah, Al-Ja’fariyyah, and Az-Zaheriyyah) agree that apostates must be executed.”
Qaradawi also once famously said: “If they had gotten rid of the apostasy punishment, Islam wouldn’t exist today.” That’s just what the Taliban are going door-to-door today to prevent. The woke academics in Indiana who are so worried about “Christian nationalism” will be relieved to hear that this scourge is being systematically removed from Afghanistan.