An Indian newspaper has highlighted the story of an Afghan convert to Christianity who fled Afghanistan on account of the persecution he received for his faith, only to find that it followed him to India.
“AP”, a man in his 60s who arrived in India three years ago, now lives in a basement in the capital, Delhi, reports Mint. AP converted to Christianity at the age of 38 and has since lost all contact with his parents and siblings.
In the Afghan capital Kabul, AP used to visit a makeshift church set up for converts to Christianity by an NGO. One day, in November 2014, the sermon at the church was interrupted by gunshots: the security guard had been killed.
“The Taliban had located our place of prayer. Almost immediately, we rushed to turn off the lights and hid under tables and in corners,” he recalled.
The gunmen then broke into the room and started shooting randomly, which resulted in many people being killed. AP was shot in the leg, moved to the hospital, then arrested and questioned about his conversion. Using the six-month Indian visa he had, AP fled to Delhi and sought asylum.
There are about 14,500 asylum-seekers from Afghanistan registered with the UNHCR office in India, as of 1 July. There are no exact figures on the numbers of Christians among them, but the UNHCR says it’s a small community.
AP said the most difficult part of his life as a refugee was finding acceptance from his Muslim compatriots living in Delhi.
“They wonder why I have converted. They often abuse fellow [Afghan Christians]; sometimes people even throw stones at our homes,” he said.
The newspaper also tells the story of a 30-year-old female asylum-seeker, referred to as “SI”, who fled Afghanistan with her parents after being subjected to continuous abuse by her husband.
She recently converted to Christianity, in India, and says she keeps her new faith secret from fellow Afghans, fearing a backlash.