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Afghanistan Deports South Koreans
Peace Festival canceled after fears that Korean aid workers are preaching Christianity
Fiza Fatima Asar (FizaPK)     Print Article 
Published 2006-08-04 17:19 (KST)   
In Afghanistan the Peace Festival due to be held by a South Korean based organization called the Institute of Asian Culture and Development has been canceled following news of bombs found hidden in a camp for Korean relief workers.

The bombs, including hand grenades, were found in the vest of a Korean relief worker. The camp was in a village near Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan.

It is feared that the explosives were planted in response to accusations that the festival involved the promotion of Christianity. The Peace Festival was to mark the fifth anniversary of the beginning of humanitarian volunteer work by South Koreans in Afghanistan.

According to official statistics released by Afghanistan over 1,200 Koreans have arrived in the country to attend the Peace Festival. The event's organizers put the figure at over 1,500. The festival was scheduled to begin on Saturday, Aug. 5 and last for three days.

South Koreans in Afghanistan are now being deported following widespread local fears that they may be attempting to convert Afghans to Christianity. Afghan officials claim that this decision has been reached for the safety and protection of the South Koreans.

The Afghan ministry has found evidence that workers involved in the Peace Festival were attempting to propagate Christianity. The organization itself claims it was merely intending to organize cultural performances. The ministry fears anger from the Afghan people who have a strong culture and a deep attachment to their Islamic faith.

These are vulnerable times for Afghanistan, where the insurgency campaign has caught increased momentum and foreign troops are under direct attack. More recently the religious ministry of Vice and Virtue, which was used by the Taliban to enforce strict laws of purity, has also been re-established by the Afghan government.

Other foreign NGOs and aid workers are also concerned about the negative impact of the Korean group's Peace Festival. In Afghanistan today the people are very tense and frustrated, and the actions of all foreigners undergo intense scrutiny. There is no doubt that all international groups in the country must act with extreme care.

Accusatory reports, like those circulating about the Korean group's Christian activities are sure to instigate strong repercussions in such a tense climate.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Fiza Fatima Asar

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