Claim:   Twenty-two missionaries (or missionary families) are about to be executed in Afghanistan.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2009]

Please pray for 22 missionary families that are to be executed by islamists in afganistan. forward this as fast as you can so that many will pray.

Pls pray 4 22 Christian Missionary families to be executed by Islamists in Afghanistan. Pls forward this msg 2 others as fast as u can so that many will pray.


Origins:   These appeals for prayers on behalf of 22 Christian missionary families about to be executed in Afghanistan circulated anew in mid-November 2009, both as an e-mail and as a text message sent to cell phones.

It’s a hoax: 22 missionary families are not being held by the Taliban under threat of execution. The same message circulated in February 2009, and it was

just as much a boondoggle back then. Had there been any truth to the tale, the news of the day surely would have been full of stories about the hostages.

That is not to say that mission work in Afghanistan is without peril. On 19 July 2007, 23 church workers from South Korea were taken hostage by the Taliban. Two of their number were executed (shot to death and abandoned by the roadside), with the remaining 21 eventually released after the South Korean government reportedly paid $20 million for their freedom.

The Koreans had been singularly incautious, traveling unescorted by bus through an area of Afghanistan frequently singled out by the Taliban and highway robbers.

Barbara “sitting duc” Mikkelson

Last updated:   17 November 2009


    Bearak, Barry.   “Taliban Threaten to Kill 18 Korean Hostages.”

    The New York Times.   21 July 2007   (p. A5).

    Jang-Jin, Hwang.   “M.E. Missionary Work Faces Restrictions.”

    The Korea Herald.   27 August 2009.

    Radio Free Europe.   “South Korean Christians Kidnapped from Afghan Bus.”

    20 July 2007.