Pluralistic? Religious freedom? Ha! Not even in the country that should know the dangers of state-sponsored sectarianism the most:

KABUL: Afghanistan has ordered hundreds of South Korean Christians to leave the country yesterday, accusing them of seeking to undermine Islamic culture and trying to spread Christianity.

Members of a South Korean non-governmental organisation, called the Institute of Asian Culture & Development, had prepared for a ’peace festival’ set for this weekend.

A member of the Korean group has said that the festival has been cancelled at the request of the Afghan government, Agence France-Presse reports.

Spokesman for the group Sung Han Kang said that Interior Ministry officials said they were being deported for their own protection, not due to security fears.

Meanwhile, Interior Ministry spokesman Yousef Stanezai said that although the Koreans came with tourist visas, their activities showed they had a different agenda.

“The programme was against the Islamic culture and customs of Afghans,” he said, adding they have been told to leave the country as soon as possible.

The South Koreans came to Afghanistan a month ago to provide computer and business training, medical and dental care and arrange sports activities in five cities, he said.

“It was rumoured among the people they have plans to convert the people to Christianity,” said Faiaz Mhrain, the governor’s chief of staff.

However, Kang stated that although the Institute of Asian Culture & Development has a Christian background, they have no intentions to win converts.

It probably was the case that some of the Koreans hoped to do a little evangelism on the side. And it definitely is the case that such activity should be perfectly legal. But not in the new Afghanistan, or indeed anywhere else in the Islamic world. We are talking about the country that tried to execute a man for converting to Christianity–and this was after the fall of the Taliban.

I’m starting to think that pulling out of our entanglements in that region won’t be so much admitting defeat as just recognizing futility. There’s only so much we can do with a culture that constantly gouges out its own eyes and hacks off its own limbs. Never mind what it does to us kaffirs.

This story has a wonderful little postscript, too.

Kang confirmed the Koreans were deported but said they were sent to Iran.

Lovely. I hear Iran is murderously intolerant this time of year.

Tags: religion