Hege Storhaug, HRS
At religiøse minoriteter fortrenges i sentrale deler av den muslimske verden, er en kjensgjerning. Et spørsmål som er høyaktuelt i disse dager er hvordan opprørene i den arabiske verden vil slå ut i forhold til kårene for ikke-muslimer. Grunnet langvarig krig og ustabilitet i Afghanistan, kan ikke forholdene i Afghanistan sammenliknes direkte med ulike sentrale land i dagens Midtøsten. Men det bør herske liten tvil om at dersom ikke reelle demokrati basert på menneskerettigheter vokser frem i Midtøsten, vil tømmingen av religiøse minoriteter også fortsette der. Det vil igjen kunne bety økt tilstrømning av forfulgte til Norge og Europa.
I Afghanistan aksepterer myndighetene eksempelvis ikke kristne som borgere av landet. Den siste kirken i landet skal ha blitt ødelagt tidligere i år. Hillary Clinton har nylig vært i nabolandene til Afghanistan for å fremme religiøs frihet.
There are no churches left in Afghanistan, where war, Taliban influence and weak government protections have wiped out nearly all non-Muslim religious communities, the U.S. State Department found.
The last Christian church in the country, where Islam is the religion of the state, was destroyed by its owner in March of last year, according to the department’s International Freedom Report.
They estimate that 99 percent of Afghanis are Muslim (80 percent Sunni and 19 percent Shia), with all others comprising a lone 1 percent, a number that likely won’t get larger due to hostility to proselytism and conversion.
“According to self-estimates by these communities, there are approximately 3,000 Sikhs, more than 400 Bahais, and 100 Hindu believers,” the report said. “There is a small Christian community; estimates on its size range from 500 to 8,000. In addition there are small numbers of adherents of other religious groups. There is one known Jewish citizen.”
There is one synagogue left in Kabul, but it’s empty. Over a dozen Sikh and Hindu places of worship remain active, only a portion of what was there before the war.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent a recent trip advocating for religious freedom among Afghanistan’s neighbors, saying freedom of religion would be crucial for security in the region, Reuters reported.
“I disagree with restrictions on religious freedom and shared those concerns,” Clinton told a news conference in Tajikistan, located to Afghanistan’s north, going on to say efforts to regulate religion “could push legitimate religious expression underground, and that could build up a lot of unrest and discontent.”
The State Department said they address religious freedom in human rights discussions with government officials in Afghanistan.