According to estimates, 99 percent of the population are Muslims (80 percent Sunnis and 19 percent Shiites). All other religions (Sikhs, Hindus, Bahai’s, Buddhists, Christians) only have a share of one percent.
The Constitution (Article 2) states that Islam is the state religion and that “No law can contradict the beliefs and provisions of the holy religion of Islam” and that “the provisions of adhering to the foundations of the sacred religion of Islam and the regime of Islam Islamic Republic can not be changed”. (Article 3)
In matters in which the Constitution and the Criminal Code are silent (including conversion and blasphemy), the courts rely on Sharia law.
Article 130 of the Afghan Constitution and Article 1 of the Criminal Code require that the courts apply the provisions of the Sunni Hanafi School of Law for Crimes of Refuse in Islam. The prevailing Hanafi jurisprudence – in consensus of their school of Islamic scholars – specifies the death penalty for the crime of Apostasy. In addition to death, the defendant’s family may be deprived of all possessions, and the individual’s marriage is considered dissolved according to the Hanafi-Sunni jurisdiction.
Blasphemy is also a capital crime in some interpretations of Sharia law, and blasphemy can be punished if it is committed by a man over 18 or a woman over 16 years of age who is not mentally handicapped. Those accused of blasphemy are given three days to revoke their actions and may otherwise face death by hanging. In recent years, this verdict has not been implemented in practice, although people are repeatedly sentenced to death for blasphemy.
In Afghanistan, the law against blasphemy is also used to persecute religious minorities, dissenters, academics and journalists.
Although religious freedom is formally proclaimed, the president and vice president must be Muslim. And there is no formal ban on importing religious texts, but since the government regards all residents as Muslims, the import of non-Islamic scriptures is prohibited.
Since the fall of the Taliban, no political parties (other than the Taliban) are officially banned for religious reasons, but the Constitution permits political parties only unless „the program and statutes of the party violate the principles of the sacred religion of Islam.” Political parties based on ethnicity, language, Islamic thinking and religion are not allowed.
In addition to this already difficult state conflict between formal freedoms and content restrictions by different Islamic schools of law, there is no legal certainty, since the military clashes between the government and the Taliban are still not over and there is no foreseeable end to recognize.
The armed Taliban, who are known for their particularly strict interpretation of the Koran and control the south and east of the country, punish apostasy with their own courts. But former Muslims who are discovered are also threatened with assassination by members of their own family, their own clan or members of other extremist Islamic groups.
The Administrative Court of Würzburg recognized this particular situation in its judgment of 26.04.2016.
The Federal Foreign Office is currently writing: “We are warned against traveling to Afghanistan. Anyone who travels must be aware of the danger posed by terrorist or criminally motivated acts of violence, including kidnappings.”