Afghanistan to probe NGOs after “preaching” report

May 31, 2010

Afghanistan has launched an investigation into the activities of hundreds of aid groups after a local media report accused a Norwegian organisation of preaching Christianity, a crime punishable by death.

Foreign and Afghan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are involved in essential humanitarian projects across the country — helping out in areas ranging from health to education — but some Afghans remain skeptical of their motives and suspect they could be a front for proselytising.

(Photo: An Afghan girl with refugee women waiting to receive free blankets distributed by a foreign charity in Kabul on December 2, 2002/Radu Sigheti)

Afghanistan’s economy ministry said on Sunday it had formed a commission to investigate all NGOs after a local TV report accusing Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) of promoting Christianity.

“We are very, very serious about this matter,” said Sediq Amarkhil a spokesman for the ministry.  “If proven that any NGO is operating against the norms and laws of Afghanistan and Islam and is inviting people to Christianity … we will not only close it down, but will hand it over to the judicial and legal organs of the government.”

Read the full story by Sayed Salahuddin here.

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