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Compassion is a capital offense says the Taliban

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Posted on August 11 2010 9:00 pm

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The Taliban is claiming responsibility in the slaying of ten Christian aid workers who were summarily executed on an obscure, dusty road after delivering medical and dental care to villagers in Afghanistan’s Parun Valley.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in conversations with Western reporters. “One of our patrols confronted a group of foreigners,” Mr. Mujahid was quoted as saying. “They were Christian missionaries and we killed them all.”

There are other reports that the Taliban also threw in a generic charge of “spying” for good measure. However, there is evidence that despite all their macabre braggadocio, the massacre may have been the work of common thieves.

Nevertheless, Dirk Frans, executive director of the International Assistance Mission denied the charge of proselytizing against the workers, who were waylaid and murdered near the end of a 150-mile journey which included a pack-horse train across 15,000 foot mountain peaks, according to Internet updates from one of the slain doctors, Karen Woo of Britain.

The expedition will require a lot of physical and mental resolve and will not be without risk but ultimately, I believe that the provision of medical treatment is of fundamental importance and that the effort is worth it in order to assist those who need it most, Dr. Woo wrote on a website.

Clearly the I.A.M. workers didn’t preach or distribute Bibles, but to families subsisting under the thumb of a religion that proselytizes with machetes and guns, their work was a pantomime of Jesus’ love. Their nonverbal actions brought an uncommon message to the suffering and afflicted in that area:

You are precious, you are unique, you are worthy, and that makes your suffering my priority.

Such compassion is the norm in nations like the U.S., because our Christian roots have fostered deeply engrained traditions of mercy. But in a country where a seven-year-old boy can be executed for “spying,” the faith of foreign travelers who bring vitamins, toothbrushes, and antibiotics to children stands out in bold relief against the status quo.

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