Presbyterians called to prayer for Afghanistan

The Presbyterian Church is calling for prayer for Afghanistan - especially its small Christian community- and to support the emergency relief effort.

Rev Dr Liz Hughes details the scale of refugees, impact of Covid and religious persecution.
Rev Dr Liz Hughes details the scale of refugees, impact of Covid and religious persecution.

Convener of the Council for Global Mission, Rev Dr Liz Hughes said half a million people have now been internally displaced, adding to the three million already displaced due to decades of conflict.

Hospitals continue to be stretched by Covid 19 and the country is experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades with the threat of famine in some regions, she said.

“Many social, religious and ethnic minorities are now already experiencing violence, oppression and loss of freedom, and are facing a very uncertain future in the re-established Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, ” she added.

Moderator, Rev Dr David Bruce, said there could be 12,000 Christians in the country. “While there are no visible church buildings, believers meet in secret, constantly having to change the venue and time of meetings. Just now, it is too dangerous for Christians to be out of doors.

“We understand that the Taliban are stopping and searching suspected Christians in the street, checking phones to look for evidence of someone’s Christian faith. It has also been reported that one man was shot for having a Bible downloaded on his phone. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are terrified, on their knees, and crying out to God.”

They encouraged their church to pray that the hand of the Taliban would be stayed from killing; For well-coordinated and effective international emergency relief; For the protection of human rights, of social, religious and ethnic minorities and for Christians in Afghanistan to be “salt and light”. For more information see www.christianaid.ie and www.tearfund.org and www.sat7.org.