A group of Afghan Christians living in exile in India have issued an "urgent" plea to the international community to help Christians still living in Afghanistan following the recent call for their execution by a government minister.
The letter was issued earlier in the month by a community of 150 Afghan converts now living as refugees in New Delhi because of the threat to their lives in Afghanistan.
In the letter they urge Christians around the world to speak out against the "egregious injustices" and "blatant human rights violations" taking place against Christians in Afghanistan.
"We left our country because we were sentenced to death on the account of our Christian faith … Christians are called pagans and infidels and are sentenced to death by the Afghan Government. Death penalty is waiting for all those who want to leave the darkness and come to true light, repent from their sins, and put their faith on (sic) the Lord Jesus Christ," they wrote.
The letter is a response to the riots and demonstrations that broke out in Afghanistan last month, after the independent channel Noorin TV aired a documentary revealing the names and faces of supposed Afghan Christian converts.
Protesters called on President Hamid Karzai to arrest and execute the converts and the deputy secretary of the Afghan Parliament's Lower House, Abdul Sattar Khawasi, made his own call for the execution of Christian converts from Islam.
The group goes on to say that they have received reports of Afghan Christians being arrested and having their homes and businesses searched in recent weeks. There have also been reports that authorities are torturing arrested Christians to force them to reveal the names of other Christian converts and the location of underground churches and fellowships.
They stated: "In light of all these events, and the perplexing media silence on these atrocities occurring in plain view of the international community, we are pleading with the Body of Christ around the world to support our Afghan Christian brothers and sisters during this critical time by taking a firm and vocal stand against the severe and devastating wrongs being committed against them by their own government!"
The execution call came just days after two Christian aid groups were suspended after authorities accused them of proselytizing. Church World Service and Norwegian Church Aid cannot operate while authorities investigate the claim. Both ministries deny any wrongdoing.