Editorial: 20 years on from 9/11

Catholic Union Head of Public Affairs, James Somerville-Meikle, writes:

It was impossible to write this week without thinking back to the events of 11th September 2001 and the current events taking place in Afghanistan.

One of the consequences of the fall of the Taliban in 2001 was the emergence of a modicum of freedom for religious minorities in Afghanistan. The country’s small Christian community of mainly second and third generation converts from Islam grew in confidence and size under the NATO led mission.

But reports now suggest that the 10-15,000 Christians in Afghanistan are more fearful than ever, with many going into hiding. John Pontifex from Aid to the Church In Need wrote about the situation in a recent article in the Tablet.

A number of parliamentarians in this country – including the Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Fiona Bruce MP – have spoken of the need to include religious minority groups in our resettlement scheme and to make protection of minorities a condition of any aid to Afghanistan.

It’s vital we stand with the Christian community in Afghanistan at this perilous time to avoid the gains of the past 20 years being lost.