Norway: Christianity to save Afghanis

After marching 600km the Afghani asylum seekers in Norway whose asylum request has been rejected have hit upon a new way of forcing their stay: convert to Christianity.

Pastor Olav Slåtten says he has baptized between 15-20 Afghanis during the past year. Noorullah Safari was baptized in September and according to Slåtten he had no political reasons for doing so. Several more Afghanis were converted just recently.

Dagbladet reports that Al-Jazeera had already made a report on the Afghanis, and though their conversion wasn't stated, they appeared on TV wearing Christian symbols.

This apparently puts them at risk should they ever be sent back to Afghanistan.

I'm not sure what's worse, the Afghani exploitation of the Norwegian system, or the Church's exploitation of the Afghani's situation.

Source: Dagbladet 1, 2 (Norwegian)

See also: Norway: Afghani protest leads to political discussion, Norway: Afghanis march in protest


Anonymous said...

From the time of Christ, the only universally sure way to become a Christian has been to convert or make a declaration of faith ("Jesus, come into my heart" or "I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior" or similar). Baptism has always, always - even before there was Islam - been the only way to declare to the world that you had converted. Denominations, i.e. Christian Institutions, have often been more lax in their criterion for membership. So for the Church to baptize these people is consistent with what it understands to be the the only certain way to become a Christian. Which should be the one yes-or-no criterion for joining the church.

Besides, when Muslims become baptized, they make themselves targets for religiously sanctioned execution - I have no doubt that most if not all the converts know and understand this full well.

Because of this, I disagree with your criticism of the church as taking advantage of this situation. The church is doing what it has always done since the time of Christ - which predates Muhammed - following the commands of Christ regarding conversion from any other (or no) religion.

Now, the other question is: are they simply "ricebowl christians;" declaring themslves as converts simply to take advantage of a bureaucratic loophole? Only God knows (seriously) and only time will tell the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Well, who can tell what´s in peoples hearts? For me, it doesn´t matter if it´s real or not.

So long as the Church actually are doing something good, as the Church in Norway does in this matter, it´s fine by me.

Sadly, half of the afghans from the asylum march was deported late in July. All of the 45 participants was ordered arrested by the parliament - at The Worlds Refugee Day! Many of these deported refugees was socialists, communists and christian, and ALL of them had been heavily exposed in the media, with links to Church and with critical comments about government in Afghanistan. Al-Jazeera and a afghan TV-station showed pictures of them before deportation, but they were told by Norwegian Asylum authority Terje Sjeggestad (UNE) that they could LIE in Kabul and tell they not had been in asylum arch, and that a link to Christianity was no problem.

Three of them was recognized at the street in Kabul shortly after, and was beaten up - one of them lost the hearing at one ear as a result.

Norwegian asylum authorities has not taken Christianity into consideration before, and have sent many Christian refugees back to Afghanistan. It´s good that the Church has ordered a change in this mis-procedure, and are following this up very closely, to make sure that Norway cannot continue to break UN-recommandations and human rights in at least this matter.

For more information: