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From Chaos to Catastrophe–Part 3

Shortly after the Taliban’s conquest of Kabul on August 15, 3 weeks later on September 7 2021 their presumed leader, Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada declared that, “In future all matters of governance and life in Afghanistan will be regulated by the laws of the holy Sharia.” This confirmed their earlier July statement that under their rule all Christians must revert to Islam, leave the country or be killed.

Throughout the 14 centuries of Islamic conquest, although not all Muslim governments have always implemented these provisions of classic Islamic law, they are accepted as valid should the authorities choose to enact them. Clearly the Taliban government has signalled its intention to do so.

For Afghan Christians could an even worse situation be envisioned?

It is already emerging!

The United Nations Special Representative has advised the UN Security Council of an even more extreme movement gaining momentum in Afghanistan. They are an ISIS affiliate known locally as Islamic State–Khorasan Province (ISKP). In 2020 they launched 20 strikes. So far this year their attacks number 334. They contest Taliban rule. Their objective is to establish a Caliphate from Kazakhstan in the north to Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the south, from Western China in the east to Iran in the west.

In all of this Afghan Christians have only one option. Flee the country or stay in hiding and risk death. With the approach of winter, bereft of International recognition and any form of aid, starvation, ruin and death stalk the land.

In 1973 the Government of the day, worried lest Afghans were becoming Christians, sent in men and machinery to destroy the church built at President Eisenhower’s request. Before the demolition commenced a German businessman warned the Mayor of Kabul, “If your government touches the House of God, God will overthrow your government.”

The demolition was completed on July 17 1973. That same night the 227 year old monarchy was overthrown. One Afghan refugee later noted, “Ever since the government destroyed that CHristian church God has been judging our country.”

You might like to join in praying to God for mercy, for light to penetrate the darkness, till all the people are truly free.

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From Chaos to Catastrophe — Part 2

In modern history there is only one occasion when a foreign power has defeated this type of domestic insurgency. This was the British led fight against the communist uprising in Malaya in the 1950s. they won because they were able to seal the Malay/Thai border and in pre-independence Malaya, they also controlled government.

In Afghanistan the Afghan/Pakistan border was porous. Taliban fighters could withdraw to Pakistan for rest and relaxation to then return refreshed and reequipped for battle.

In terms of government control an attempt was made to import an alien form of Western democracy. In the process real power was surrendered in 2002. At a Loya Jirga (a type of tribal leaders’ consultation) to gain consensus, it was agreed that local chieftains would draw on central government allocations ensuring they would be the principle financial beneficiaries of government resources. The companion of the devolution of unaccountable power was, in Western terms, widespread corruption. While some changes could be effected, societal foundations would remain unchanged. Additionally the foreign forces were all from “infidel” nations. Sharia Law could never permit its continuance.

With expenses and military fatalities rising and diminishing hope of what Western politicians would regard as a good outcome, President Obama announced an American troop withdrawal. Advisors then persuaded him to “temporarily” increase America’s military commitment. President trump accelerated the withdrawal. President Biden set the final date to end the process.

In 2009 when American military authorities learned that some of their troops were carrying Bibles in the Pashtun language to give to local people the confiscated and burned every copy. To boost further the Karzai government’s Islamic credentials, in 2010 the International Security Assistance Command (INSAF) initiated a request for and publication of a fatwa (religious ruling) decreeing the death penalty for males leaving Islam. Local Muslim scholars were happy to oblige. The penalties were duly confirmed.

The four law schools of Sunni Islam–Hanafi, Malaki, Shafi’l and Hanbali together with the main Shia law school, Jafari, all prescribe the death penalty for apostasy. Apostasy is regarded as treason against the Muslim State and the world wide Ummah, i.e. all Muslims. Sharia provisions for sane apostate females are that they are to be imprisoned.

In INSAF actions were a vain attempt to demonstrate their determination not to disrupt anything relating to Afghanistan’s culture and religion. It was also an attempt to gain acceptance by contesting power brokers.

The smallest of the minority tribes in Afghanistan is the Shiite Hazara who are regarded as heretics by all other Sunni tribes. Thus, they and their distinctive mosques are frequently attacked, especially by the dominant Pashtuns among whom the Taliban were formed.

To be continued.

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FROM CHAOS TO CATASTROPHE–PART 1

D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 1 

Ancient documents claim that the Apostle Thomas preached in the northern region of today’s Afghanistan in the first century. In 424 a bishop was located in Heart. By 585 dioceses were established in Kandahar, Balkh and other regions. 

Muslim armies first entered Afghanistan in 642. Islam was adopted as the state religion in 1295. The Church was almost totally eradicated during the murderous reign of Timur (1336-1405). By the 20th century Christianity in Afghanistan was little more than a distant memory—a belief of foreign infidels. 

Italy was the first country to recognize Afghanistan’s independence in 1919. It was rewarded by being permitted to build a chapel in its embassy complex. The construction was completed in 1933. Italy is in the process of moving its embassy to Qatar. 

In 1959 in return for America granting permission for a mosque to be built in Washington, President Eisenhower asked Afghanistan’s King Muhammad Zair Shah, to permit a church to be built in Kabul for Christian diplomats. Permission was granted. On May 17 1970 the building was completed and dedicated as a “House of Prayer for all Nations”. 

To fight against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan (1979-1989) Mujahedeen commander, Mullah Mohammad Omar formed the Taliban. They had been strengthened by money and armaments supplied by Saudi Arabia and the USA. This was channeled through Pakistan. With the Soviet withdrawal the Taliban became one of a number of insurgency forces seeking to fill the power vacuum left in the Soviet’s wake. They succeeded capturing Kabul in 1996 and remained in power till the US led invasion of 2001. 

The US invaded ostensibly to defeat Al Qaeda who was using Afghanistan as a terrorist training base. Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin-Laden, having been required to leave Sudan, had found a new base in Afghanistan from which to lead his fight against the USA. He was attempting to draw America into a war to drain it financially. The event of 9/11 in New York was the trigger for much of what followed. With the death of bin-Laden on May 2 2011, instead of declaring “mission accomplished”, America and its allies stayed on to fight an unwinnable Taliban insurgency. 

To be continued.

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Interview with Global Interaction Director, Scott Pilgrim about the Importance of Prayer in Missions

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3rd Interview with Dave Lawton, Founder of Praxeis on Making Disciples in the Church

https://praxeis.org/blog/

If you have listened to the previous two interviews then you won’t want to miss this one.

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2nd Podcast interview with Dave Lawton, Founder of Praxeis–On becoming a Disciple

Listen here:
https://praxeis.org/14-stuart-robinson-movement-in-south-asia/

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Podcast interview by Dave Lawton, Founder of Praxeis–On Becoming a Disciple

https://praxeis.org/13-stuart-robinson-becoming-a-disciple/

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Interview: Daring to Disciple with Neil Johnson

In 1914 Christianity peaked as a percentage of world population. Since then it has been in constant decline because the Church in the West continues to die. In this interview with Neil Johnson I talk about the one thing we have overlooked, which unless we act we will continue to slide toward the dustbin of history.

Dare to Disciple

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A Review of The Hidden Half

This week I was excited to receive the following review of my book The Hidden Half by Bill Muehlenberg, a well known commentator on current issues.

Stuart Robinson, The Hidden Half: Women and Islam. CHI Books, 2017.

For nearly a half a century Stuart Robinson has lived, worked and/or travelled in Muslim countries. He has written a number of vital books on Islam including his important 2003 volume, Mosques and Miracles. Thus he is well placed to deal with this topic. And what a vitally important subject it is. Says Robinson:

Although approximately 10% of the world’s population may be Muslim and female, within countries where Islamic law predominates, they are mostly silenced in public places and rendered effectively invisible by the clothing they are obliged to wear. They are frequently condemned to suffer abuse and indignity through male mouthpieces who determine their role and outcomes.

Image of The Hidden Half: Women and Islam

In a number of well-documented and meaty chapters, he looks at the various ways in which women are oppressed by Islam. Whether it is Female Genital Mutilation, forced coverings, honour killings, child brides, second class citizenship, or religious rape (yes, that exists in Islam), women are treated abysmally in this religion.

Consider just one issue which has made at least some news headlines of late. In the UK where the Muslim population is said to double each decade, Muslim paedophile gangs had been at work there for decades. Robinson cites a 300+ page research report on this which documents all the horrific abuse, rape and torture.

For example, a number of Muslim males were jailed for grooming up to 100 underage girls for sex. The study found that “Muslim males are 154 times more likely than others to perpetuate this sort of crime.” Much of the mainstream media has stayed silent on this story, so it is terrific to see Robinson bravely exposing it.

Facts, figures, data and research presented in the book are supplemented by numerous personal horror stories of women being treated so very poorly in Islam. It makes for frightening reading, but it is necessary reading. We all owe Stuart Robinson a great debt in producing this urgent wake-up call.

As Elizabeth Kendall says in her foreword, “The events reported in this book may disturb you and even move you to tears. But if change is to occur, reality must first be faced.” Quite so, and the reality of how women fare under Islam is expertly and carefully documented in this must-read volume.

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AN UNEXPECTED OUTCOME

Being on talk back radio is always a risk. What may happen is quite unpredictable. As I sat in my office in Melbourne, Australia, a call came in from Adelaide. the capital city of a neighbouring State of South Australia. It was a young lady who wanted to discuss an issue relating to Islam. She opened the conversation by saying that she had become a Muslim. To establish a context for the discussion I asked a few questions.

“Where did you go to school in Adelaide”?

She replied, ”All my life I attended a Christian denominational school”.

“Did you ever read a Bible”?

“Never”.

“And you have become a Muslim”?

“Yes”.

“Have you ever read the Quran”?

“No.”

“So why did you become a Muslim”?

“Some of my girlfriends and I thought it would be a cool thing to do”.

“That was your only reason”?

“Yes”.

I had heard reports that in Australia 65% of new converts to Islam were women. In the UK it was reportedly 70%. Admittedly some  Middle Eastern males may appear to some to be quite handsome. But regardless of the reasons, had any of these young women heard of law of Apostasy? Islam’s front door is wide and inviting. Its invitation is attractively presented and simply put. But perhaps unknown to such new followers of the teaching and example of Prophet Muhammad  is that unlike in any other religion there is no back door of escape once  any person enters that space. The death penalty may be applied to men and imprisonment for women who dare to leave for any reason.

It seems almost unbelievable that in this day and age so little is known about Islam by many that anyone would make such a momentous decision on no greater motive than “it seemed a cool thing to do’!

I decided to dig further. It took a couple of years of scarce spare time but now I am very excited to announce that the book is out. It’s called “The Hidden Half—Women and Islam”. You can buy it from your local Christian Book store or you may buy it directly from me at a special introductory price. Go to the section on this site headed “Books” and follow the prompts.

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