So much for Muslims and Christians living in peaceful harmony, at least in Afghanistan.
The U.S. State Department reported that in the last 10 years, under President Obama’s watch – after the United States invaded and ousted the Taliban from leadership – religious freedom has plunged and every single Christian church has been removed from the country.
The last remaining Christian church in Afghanistan was destroyed in March 2010.
And so goes the state of the country’s Christian schools – nowadays, there aren’t any.
Yet taxpayers are still shelling out big bucks to support Afghanistan’s government, to the tune of $440 billion in the last decade. On top of that, the country remains a top threat to U.S. military. In the past 10 years, more than 1,700 U.S. military members have been killed while serving in Afghanistan.
All this is outlined in a newly released State Department report, the “International Religious Freedom Report,” covering July 2010 through December 2010 and distributed for public viewing last month.
From the report, as noted by CNS News:
“There is no longer a public Christian church; the courts have not upheld the church’s claim to its 99-year lease, and the landowner destroyed the building in March ,” reads the State Department report on religious freedom. “[Private] chapels and churches for the international community of various faiths are located on several military bases, PRTs [Provincial Reconstruction Teams], and at the Italian embassy. Some citizens who converted to Christianity as refugees have returned. …
“The government’s level of respect for religious freedom in law and in practice declined during the reporting period, particularly for Christian groups and individuals, reads the State Department report.
“Negative societal opinions and suspicion of Christian activities led to targeting of Christian groups and individuals, including Muslim converts to Christianity,’ said the report. “‘he lack of government responsiveness and protection for these groups and individuals contributed to the deterioration of religious freedom.’”
Curiously, the State Department report notes the United States continues to promote religious freedom in Afghanistan.
But it seems a losing game.
“The report acknowledged that Afghanistan’s post-Taliban constitution, which was ratified with the help of U.S. mediation in 2004, can be contradictory when it comes to the free exercise of religion.
“While the new constitution states that Islam is the ‘religion of the state’ and that ‘no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam,’ it also proclaims that ‘followers of other religions are free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of the law.’
“However, ‘the right to change one’s religion was not respected either in law or in practice,’ according to the State Department.
“‘Muslims who converted away from Islam risked losing their marriages, rejection from their families and villages, and loss of jobs,’ according to the report. ‘Legal aid for imprisoned converts away from Islam remains difficult due to the personal objection of Afghan lawyers to defend apostates.’