The question of religious freedom remains unsettled as Afghanistan wrestles with its new constitution.
During a recent Washington, D.C., visit, Dr. Musa M. Maroofi, a member of the Afghan Constitutional Drafting Committee, stated that Afghanistan has four traditional religions: Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism. He said these four traditional religions will be able to operate, but offered no guarantee that other faiths—including Christianity—will be free. Dr. Maroofi also noted that the right to change faiths will not be protected, nor will the right to state unbelief in God.
The comments came at a meeting organized by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom attended by the Afghan delegation.
“We can only hope that Afghanistan’s future is much brighter than its recent past. A return to the repression of religious freedom would be a great tragedy,” said James Standish, Executive Director of the North American Religious Liberty Association. Standish was invited to the event and met many of the members of the Afghan delegation, including H.E. Abdul Rahim Karimi, the justice minister.
“We will continue to work in the hope that the new Afghan constitution will guarantee fundamental freedoms, and that people of all faiths will be free to follow their conscience and their religious traditions in the new Afghanistan,” Standish said.