The Taliban's 2001 Calendar of Religious Intolerance

Friday, October 3, 2003

The Taliban's 2001 Calendar of Religious Intolerance


Taliban leader Mohammed Omar declares on Radio Shariat that any Afghan caught professing Christianity or Judaism would be executed, and that any non-Muslim found "trying to win converts" would also be killed.


Explosives and mortars are detonated to smash to pieces two of the world's largest standing Buddha statues, carved 1600 years ago on the sandstone cliffs of the Bamian valley, 90 miles west of Kabul.


Afghanistan's Hindu minority is ordered to wear yellow identification tags on their clothing to distinguish them from Muslims. The measure was explained as "a provision of protection to religious minorities," as required by Islam.


Taliban leader Mohammed Omar issues Edict No. 14 regarding the behavior of foreign nationals, decreeing three to 10 days in prison and then banishment from the country within 48 hours for anyone found guilty of inviting Afghans to convert to another religion.


August 3: The Taliban's religious police arrest two American aid workers from Shelter Now, a Christian relief aid organization, claiming the women were caught "red-handed" spreading Christianity in an Afghan Muslim home.

August 5: Six more foreign and 16 Afghan staff from Shelter Now are arrested by the Taliban's religious police in Kabul, accused of involvement in covert Christian missionary work.

August 9: Shelter Now's soup kitchens, bakeries, factories for roofing beams and other humanitarian operations are all closed and sealed, and their remaining foreign staff in outlying cities all leave the country.

August 25: The Red Cross is allowed for the first time to visit Shelter Now's eight foreign staff being held in custody by the Taliban. The following day relatives and diplomatic representatives of their countries are also allowed visiting access.

August 31: Two more Christian relief agencies are closed down and their operations sealed, with all the foreign staff of International Assistance Mission (IAM) and SERVE ordered out of the country in 72 hours.


September 4: The Taliban Supreme Court's slate of Islamic scholar justices begin the closed trial of the eight Shelter Now staff.

September 5: The family of blind Egyptian Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, serving life in prison in New York for the deadly 1993 World Trade Center bombing, proposes to the United States that he be exchanged for the eight Christian aid workers.

September 7: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court warns the Muslim faithful at Friday prayers to stay away from non-Muslim "infidels," whom he describes as "evil."

September 8: To attend their trial, the Christian aid workers appear in public for the first time since their arrest. At the trial, they learn for the first time the charges filed against them.

September 9: International aid workers in Kabul report the arrest of 35 Afghan staff of IAM by Taliban authorities.

Compass News Direct. Used with Permission.