In Afghanistan, conversion away from the Muslim religion is punishable by death. In spite of this constant threat, non-muslim volunteers endure suspicion and risk their lives to help the suffering of this deeply troubled country.
Earlier this year, Taliban gunmen accused and attacked a daycare center of U.S. aid group Roots of Peace for converting Afghans to Christianity. Fortunately, they weren’t the sitting ducks as expected as there was an armed American presence able to fight back. New York Times
A month later, Afghan police gunned down a pediatrician from Chicago and two guests at a Kabul hospital operated by CURE International. Dr. Jerry Umanos, one of the victims, had treated children and helped train Afghan doctors for almost nine years on a volunteer basis. New York Times
Yesterday, two Finnish women who had worked the last 16 years for the good of Afghanistan were shot and fatally wounded while in a taxi. Described as “full of love for Afghans,” they had been working for a Christian nonprofit organization, the International Assistance Mission.
A close friend said the two women had a ‘profound reputation.’
“To say I and the thousands of Afghans and expats who saw their selfless service – to say we are devastated – is a vast understatement. These women have given their lives – now literally – to help and serve the neediest of the needy in the hardest of places. Both women were in their fifties, and have served in Afghanistan for over 15 years. Through a commitment to love the people of Afghanistan, they’d lived through the tumultuous Taliban years and the unpredictable and increasingly dangerous years of the soon-to-end Karzai regime. Helping the most marginalised Afghans – women – through mental health and psychiatry projects, they had forsaken an easy, comfortable life in Finland. Both had spent extended periods of time in Finland to further train to meet more specific needs, as they sought to increasingly train local women to a higher level. One had just returned last week after 18 months in Finland and was so excited to be back in Herat, and to get back to work. With a Thursday/Friday weekend, they had gone early to the bazaar to shop, and were shot by armed assailants as they left in their trusted taxi. Both died of their wounds on the way to hospital.” source
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto has called on Afghan authorities to do all they can to bring perpetrators to justice.
For those among us who despise Christians and consistently utter that all the world’s problems come about because of religion, including or especially Christianity, pay attention and acknowledge all the good that Christian charitable organizations and volunteers accomplish even at personal sacrifice. May their rewards be great.