Afghan Clerics Warn Karzai Against Missionaries

January 6, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: New York Times

Wire Service: Reuters

Afghanistan’s Islamic council has told President Hamid Karzai to stop foreign aid groups from converting local people to Christianity and has demanded the reintroduction of public executions.

The council, an influential group that lacks binding authority, is made up of the Islamic clergy and ulema, or religious scholars, from various parts of Afghanistan. It made the warning in a statement Friday during a meeting with Mr. Karzai.

The ulema have always played a crucial role in Afghanistan and have been behind several revolts against past governments.

The council said it was concerned about the activities of some “missionary and atheistic” groups, saying that the actions were “against Islamic Shariah, the Constitution, and political stability,” according to a copy of the statement. “If not prevented, God forbid, catastrophe will emerge, which will not only destabilize the country, but the region and the world.”