Two church aid groups deny Afghan charges of proselytizing

Church World Service and a Norwegian aid group

Afghan officials have ordered two international church-backed humanitarian groups to suspend operations while they investigate allegations of illegal proselytizing, which the groups strongly deny.

Afghanistan has suspended the activities of Norwegian Church Aid and U.S.-based Church World Service pending an investigation into allegations they were preaching Christianity, which is prohibited in the Islamic state.

“Norwegian Church Aid does not proselytize in any of the countries in which it works. This policy is also enforced in Afghanistan,” NCA said on its Web site. “Norwegian Church Aid has been working in Afghanistan since 1979 and has since 1995 mainly implemented its programs through Afghan organizations.”

Church World Service, the affiliated humanitarian arm of the National Council of Churches, also denied the allegations about proselytizing, which can carry a maximum sentence of death.

 

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