Sunday, January 3, 2010

Book Review: Kabul 24

In the 1500’s, John Foxe wrote his famous Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, a chronicle of the Protestant victims in England, particularly those who perished under the reign of Mary I, also known as “Bloody Mary.” If Foxe’s stories seem distant and surreal, Kabul 24 brings the reality of religious persecution into the 21st century.

Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson tell the story of 8 Shelter Now International workers who spent 105 days in captivity in Afghanistan. This international team of western Christian relief workers were arrested by the Taliban who controlled Afghanistan prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US. The 2 men and 6 women were detained on charges of proselytizing Muslims – a crime in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. During their captivity, they were moved between several prisons, faced interrogation, and lived in constant fear of execution. Only the American incursion into Afghanistan after 9/11 paved the way for their escape and rescue.

Kabul 24 is a compelling book. The story unfolds in such a way that the reader is drawn into the captivity with the SNI workers. Several insights emerge from this account of religious oppression:

  1. Kabul 24 gives insight into the thinking of Islamic extremists. To those in the West who cherish religious liberty, the Taliban mindset is incomprehensible.

  2. American Christians have much to be thankful for and very little cause for complaint.

  3. Religious persecution is a reality in our 21st century world. It is not relegated to the Dark Ages.

  4. There are still some who are willing to lay all on the line for the sake of the Kingdom.

Every Christian would profit from reading this book. Particularly as hostilities continue in Afghanistan and western Christians continue to minister among Islamic people, it is a challenging to see the price that may be exacted from those who represent Christ.

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