Christianity and the Caste System in Afghanistan

This is an excellent article (the link at the bottom) on a current issue in the war-torn country of Afghanistan:

They embraced the religion of their invaders to escape the caste system that had condemned them to a miserable existence. But Karlos Zurutuza reports on how, centuries later, Christians in the Taliban stronghold of Quetta are once again becoming ‘untouchables.’

Dubbed ‘Little London’ when still under British rule, Quetta, in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province, was levelled to the ground by an earthquake in 1935. Yet, although the physical evidence of the city’s colonial heritage was lost in the temblor, reminders remain of the British legacy–locals still add milk to their tea, for example, and when they take to the roads they drive (nominally at least) on the left.

But look closely at the motifs that adorn locals’ rickshaws and motorised tricycle taxis and a very different image emerges–one of an ethnically mixed subcontinent city. For while the colourful flags of the Pashtun and Baloch political parties most frequently embellish these small vehicles, there’s no shortage of black Shiite banners, or the Jamiat Ulama´e Islam’s black and white horizontal stripes (which also serve as reminders that many in Quetta demand the strict enforcement of traditional Islamic law). (read the rest here)

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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