Afghanistan a country of Asia. Its area is estimated at 225,000 square miles, and its population at about 4,000,000, most of whom are Mohammedans, belonging partly to the Soonite and partly to the Shiite sect. Hindoos, Christians, and Jews are tolerated. There are besides two Indian sects, which have adherents in India, the Sufis, who hold pantheistic views, and the Mullah Fukkis, who are freethinkers. The clergy (Mullah) are, at the same time, also teachers. Schools, in which reading and the Mohammedan religion are taught, are found in almost every village. The Presbyterian Mission in Northern India has directed its attention also to the neighboring Afghans, and established, in 1856, the first mission among them. Their missionary, the Reverend Isidor Lowenthal (q.v.), took up his residence at Peschawur, and entered at once with ardor upon his work. Having acquired the difficult language of the Afghans, the Pushtoo, he translated and published in it the New Testament. The first native convert was baptized by him in 1859. — Pierer; News of the Churches, 1859. See ASIA.

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