Amid horrifying reports of tension and chaos coming in from Afghanistan, social media is getting flooded with several strange claims. One among them is that 229 Christian missionaries have been sentenced to death by Afghan Islamists and that they would be executed anytime.
So much so, that even a prayer request has been circulating in the form of a chain mail asking for help and mercy to be bestowed on these missionaries. However, the claim has been found to be false and has been in circulation for years. This time it has been modified a bit and is being circulated again.
Prayer for Helpless Missionaries
A prayer in the form of a chain mail claiming that 229 Christian missionaries have been arrested by the Taliban and they have been sentenced to death. The mail started getting circulated on August 17, two days after the Taliban took siege of the presidential palace in Kabul.
The prayer request looked like an open chain mail and claimed to have been sent from a missionary in Chihuahua in Africa claiming that the Taliban have just manage to siege power in Afghanistan and will now execute these missionaries.
The prayer was also posted on Facebook with many sharing it instantly. The letter read:
"Just received this prayer request from a friend through church.
Today sadly they just confirmed this terrible news at this time. They can corraborate it in the news. Please pray for the 229 Christian missionaries, who have been sentenced to death tomorrow afternoon by the Afghan Islamists. Please can pass this message on as soon as possible so that many people will be able to pray. This message was sent by a missionary from Chihuahua who is in Africa. The whole planet united in prayer. If you can forward it please join us in urgent prayer, also because the radical Islamic group has just taken Quaragosh, the largest Christian city in Iraq. Where there are hundreds Christian men, women and children who are being beheaded. Prayer cover is being requested. Please take a minute and pray for them. Pass the message to whoever you can. Quaragosh has already been taken several times. They have asked us for prayer, please pass it on to others."
The entire prayer plea is nothing but hoax. Truth is that a similar prayer in the form of letter has been in circulation at least since 2009 and has been modified time and again during such time of geopolitical tension. The same happened during the Iraq crisis and it is being repeated.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing. The post has since been removed by Facebook for being fake news.
Earlier Snopes had reported about this hoax on November 17, 2009 in an article titled, "22 Christian Missionaries Sentenced to Death' Prayer Request". However, the numbers have altered from time to time, at times mentioning 229.
Interestingly, on most instances the letter's initial few sentences have been rephrased but then it almost reads similar. This time too it starts with reference to the situation in Afghanistan but then moves to a completely different situation and country, in Iraq.
Hence the letter is nothing but just hoax and there's nothing to be surprised if this reappears in the future too.