HYDERABAD: A WhatsApp message claiming 22 Christian missionaries (misspelt as 229th) will soon be sentenced to death by the Afghan Islamists is viral on social media.
The message was also shared on Facebook.
The message is fake.
There has been no information by any news organization or human rights groups stating that 22 missionaries were or will be executed in Afghanistan. There have been no recent reports of missionaries being sentenced to death or executed and no reports were filed of a mass death sentence being issued against a mass execution of Christians or missionaries in Afghanistan.
This viral message has been circulating on the internet since 2009. It was debunked by Snopes in 2009 and by AFP and Africa Check-in 2019. Even back then, there was no information from any news reports or human rights groups reporting on 22 missionaries being executed in Afghanistan.
However, this does not say that mission work in Afghanistan is safe. In 2019, Emal Haidary, one of AFP's reporters in Kabul, confirmed that Christians are not allowed to spread their faith in Afghanistan.
"Christian missionary work is illegal in Afghanistan, because the basis of all the laws here is the Islamic Sharia, and Sharia does not allow Christian missionary work or apostasy (renunciation of the Muslim faith)," Haidary explained. "But the fact is, there are some Christian missionaries secretly operating in some parts of the country, mostly under the name of charity organizations, etc. There are also some Afghan missionaries in Kabul too. But they have to be extremely secretive; otherwise, they will be in big trouble."
While it is true that many Christians are suffering in Afghanistan, the viral message is a hoax.
Thus, the claim is false.