USA - Afghan Family Resettlement Tragedy

Arno Froese

As a boy in Afghanistan, Rezwan Kohistani dreamed of being a respected doctor and helping people.

When he and his family escaped war-torn Kabul last August, his parents hoped resettling to the United States would bring their oldest son closer to that dream and give his five siblings a chance at a quality education in a safe place.

They landed in Webb City, a southwest Missouri town of about 12,000 people that is 90% white. Another Muslim family could not be found for miles. Even at the local mosque, few people spoke their Dari dialect.

The family felt alone.

“We didn’t know anybody here,” Lemar Kohistani said through an interpreter. “We didn’t have any communication with anyone.”

Rezwan, whose mother called him handsome, would feel that isolation even deeper. And on May 5, just five months after the family moved to southwest Missouri, the teen would be dead of what authorities in Webb City believe was a suicide, according to Police Chief Don Melton.

His death drew nationwide attention from civil rights groups and refugee advocacy agencies, causing them to question why families like the Kohistanis were being resettled in remote areas with little support.

Refugees are often placed in cities where they have family or where there’s a community of people from the same culture, according to the humanitarian group International Rescue Committee.

The Islamic Society of Joplin runs the only mosque in the area. Their former building had been a church, according to a leader in the community, who declined to share his name for fear of retribution. Signs outside the mosque were often defaced or riddled with bullets., 16 June 2022

Arno's Commentary

America is a nation built by refugees and immigrants. The majority came from the British Isles, and later from continental Europe and the rest of the world. There are multiple reasons for people to leave their homeland and establish themselves in a new country, whether in the USA, Canada, or any of the other 33 countries founded on the American continent. But it is difficult, if not impossible to explain to someone not having experienced being a refugee, what it really means to lose one’s home. In this case, it ended in a tragedy; the young boy, 14 years of age, chose death over the new homeland. 

For Christians, this tragedy gives a lesson; namely, that we are not home yet. We are in this world, but not of this world. We are literally dwelling in enemy territory, for the Bible tells us: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

Our Lord made the statement: “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

What is our hope? Second Peter 3:13 proclaims: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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