Persecution of Ex-Muslims (Uganda)
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Threats and expulsions by family and other Muslims for Christian convert and her husband. Anti-Christian violence in Muslim area where missionaries were slain
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Economically devastated and deprived of that which is most valued in the communal culture, Samusa sought refuge in a local church in Lotongo village. There she found the man she would marry later that year, David Edema, who was raised a Christian
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it wasn’t long before her relatives threatened to break up their marriage. With Samusa’s family threatening to forcibly take her from Edema, the couple fled Lotongo village to Yumbe town.
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“The Muslims started sending people, saying that I am not wanted in Yumbe town and that I should leave the town,” Edema said. Most houses in Yumbe are owned by Muslims, he said, and since 2006 the couple has been forced to move from one rented house to another without notice. “The owner just wakes up one morning and gives us marching orders to vacate the house,” the 29-year-old Edema said. “Nowadays, the situation is getting worse. Muslims are openly saying even in their mosques that they plan to take unknown action against my family.” One potential danger amounts to a death threat against his wife, now 24.
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Violence in Yumbe district is not without precedent. On March 18, 2004, seven suspected radical Islamists dressed in military fatigues murdered two African Inland Mission missionaries and a Ugandan student in an attack on a college run by local aid group Here is Life.
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Edema, his wife and two children belong to Pilgrim Church. Christians and converts to Christianity are a tiny minority in the area, but about three kilometers from Yumbe town is the Church of Uganda in Eleke, with a congregation of about 100. This church has recently sounded alarms about Muslims making land-grabs of its property.
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In addition, in May Muslim youths beat a female church worker who had taken a photo of a mosque that was under construction 100 meters from the church, he said.
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Peter Manasseh, vicar of the Eleke Church of Uganda, said the church has filed a complaint with the local governing council, “but we do not expect any fairness to be done because the person handling this case is a Muslim and will be partisan.”
A journalist who works for a Christian radio station, however, decided to look into the case – and was himself beaten.
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“At the mosque site, the Muslims caught hold of Oguzu, beat him and he had his tooth broken,” the official said. “He was then hospitalized in Yumbe hospital and is still receiving some medication.”
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Compass Direct, June 26, 2009
Father locks 14-year-old girl in room with no food or water for 6 months because of her conversion to Christianity. Child survives on eating mud and licking water off the floor, but loses the use of her legs
Susan Ithungu of Isango village, Kasese district, has been hospitalized at Kagando Hospital since October 2010 after neighbors with police help rescued her from her father, Beya Baluku. He was arrested shortly afterward but quickly released, sources said.
Susan and her younger brother, Mbusa Baluku, lived alone with their father after he divorced their mother. In March 2010 an evangelist from Bwera Full Gospel Church spoke at Susan’s school, and she decided to trust Christ for her salvation.
“I heard the message of Christ’s great love of him dying for us to get everlasting peace, and there and then I decided to believe in Christ,” she said from her hospital bed. “After a month, news reached my father that I had converted to Christianity, and that was the beginning of my troubles with him. Our father warned us not to attend church or listen to the gospel message. He even threatened us with a sharp knife that he was ready to kill us in broad daylight in case we converted to Christianity.”
Pastor Joseph Baluku of Bwera Full Gospel Church in Kasese said neighbors took her to the government hospital about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Kasese town after she was freed.
“He locked her up in a room of the semi-permanent house for six months without seeing sunlight,” the pastor said. “The younger brother was warned not to tell anyone that Susan was locked up in a room and was not given any food.”
Young Mbusa said that when their father was away, he roasted bananas for his sister.
“I also dug a hole under the door, where I could pour water through,” he said. “My sister could drink the water using her tongue. But most days she could only feed on mud.”
A nearby resident who requested anonymity said neighbors became concerned after not seeing her for several months.
“Her brother then disclosed to us that Susan was locked up in one of the rooms in the house,” the area resident said. “We then reported the case to the Harukunggu local council and then to the Bwera police station. The police went to the house and broke the door.”
Susan was immediately taken to the provincial government hospital about 17 kilometers (11 miles) away near Bwera town, where Pastor Baluku visited her.
“The miserable young Susan was bony, very weak, and not able to talk or walk,” said the pastor. “Her hair had turned yellow, she had long fingernails and sunken eyes, and she looked very slim, less than 20 kilograms [44 pounds].”
Members of the Full Gospel Church in Bwera prayed for her and visited her in the hospital, which like many government-subsidized hospitals in the region does not customarily bill until the patient is discharged, and at rates well below those of private hospitals. It is unknown when Susan will be released, but Pastor Baluku said area residents and church members will try to gather funds for medical costs incurred.
The pastor said billing from such government hospitals can often be deferred until enough money is raised.
“It could be a challenge, but we will try to do our best,” he said.“By God’s grace Susan is still alive,” he said after a visit last week. “Though she can’t walk, she can now talk. She is still feeding on soft foods. The great news is that Susan is still strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. She needs prayers and support, so that she can resume her education soon.”
Compass Direct, August 11, 2011
“I have been witch-hunted since I converted to Christianity," ex-Muslim Christian pastor disfigured and blinded in an acid attack following a Christmas Eve church service. Assailant shouts ‘Allah Akbar’
Apostle Mulinde, who denounced Islam after he became a born-again Christian, was left with a damaged right eye and a disfigured face on Christmas Eve after an assailant splashed acid on his face at Namasuba, a Kampala suburb.
Police say the suspect is in their custody but they would not reveal his identity because the case is still at a sensitive stage. “One person has been arrested and he is helping us with the investigations,” the police spokesman, Mr Asuman Mugenyi, said.
Gospel Life Church leader Apostle Mulinde, who is currently admitted to International Hospital Kampala, attracted many followers after he converted from Islam and became a strong critic of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad. He told Daily Monitor yesterday from his hospital bed that he believes that the attack that happened around 9pm at his church had connections to his preaching and interpretation of the Quran.
“I have been witch-hunted since I converted to Christianity. I do not know which crime I committed because I have been receiving threats and the authorities kept ignoring them not knowing it would result into this,” Apostle Mulinde said.
He said as he was leaving his church, a person who claimed to be one of his flock called him aside pretending that he was wanted. He obliged. “When I turned around, the assailant poured acid on my face which splashed on the right side of the face, suit and shirt affecting my eye and face,” Apostle Mulinde said.He added that shortly after the incident, he heard one of the assailants shouting ‘Allah Akbar’ (God is Great).
Stephen Otage & Andrew Bagala, Daily Monitor, December 27 2011
Convert to Christianity kicked out of home by family, his wife leaves him, he loses his job as a teacher, and enraged Muslims beat him. Islamic cleric (and "rival") falsely accuses him of "defiling" his underage daughter
Following his conversion in his early 20s in 2003, Muwanguzi’s family immediately kicked him out of their home, and enraged Muslims beat him, he said. His wife left him that same year, and he lost his job as a teacher at Nankodo Islamic School, near Pallisa.
Undaunted, a year ago he opened a Christian school, Grace International Nursery and Primary School, at Kajoko, Kibuku district, 27 kilometers (17 miles) from Mbale town; the area’s population of 5,000 people is predominantly Muslim.
Incensed by his boldness, an Islamic teacher, Sheikh Hassan Abdalla, filed a false charge that Muwanguzi had “defiled” his daughter, a minor. Together with his Muslim countrymen, Abdalla filed a case at the chief magistrate’s court in Palissa-Kalaki, and a warrant for Muwanguzi’s arrest was issued on April 1, 2011.
Initially he was locked up for three weeks, he said.
“After 48 hours, I was taken to court, and the judge read the charges against me and asked whether I knew of the case,” Muwanguzi said. “I answered that I was not aware of such charges. I asked for a court bail, but the judge insisted that a bail can only be given after hearing from the complainant.”
He was then sent to Kamuge Prison. On April 22, he appeared again before the judge, but the complainant did not appear. His lawyer appealed for his release.
He was freed on bail for 600,000 Uganda shillings (US$246), he said. At his first hearing on May 21, the complainant did not appear. Nor did Sheikh Abdalla appear at hearings on June 25, July 16 and Aug. 13, Muwanguzi said.
“The judge found out it was a false accusation, hence the case was dropped,” Muwanguzi said. “I had been subjected to humiliation, but I forgave them for the sake of my Christian outreach in the area.”
He said the Muslims filed the charges because he had opened the Christian school against the wishes of the Muslim majority. More than a quarter of the school’s 235 children come from Muslim homes, with the consent of their Muslim parents, he said.
“The Muslims have tried to use all kinds of threats to make me close the school – first they used witchcraft,” he said. “This did not work, so then they tried to discourage Muslims from bringing their children to the school, saying that the school was converting Muslim children to Christianity by teaching Christian Religious Education.”
The constitution and other laws protect religious freedom in Uganda, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.Muwanguzi has also helped the area to improve its agricultural practices, training the community to become self-reliant by starting tomato and eggplant gardens, among others, and providing free seeds to widows and other indigent people, including more than 100 Muslims.
Simba Tian, Compass Direct, January 24, 2012
Member of Islamist group who converted to Christianity is threatened with death, kidnapped and beaten over 3 days in order to make him reconvert. Wife tries to poison him, and his father kills himself. Now in hiding
Hassan Sharif Lubenga, 54, was a sheikh and member of the Buk Haram, a violent group of Islamists whose name suggests the Bible is corrupt and therefore forbidden.
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Lubenga fled to Kenya last July 10 after hostilities peaked, and upon returning to Uganda in September he received messages on his cell phone from mujahidin – Islamic fighters – threatening to kill him, he said. He reported the threats to Chengera police, who told him they would investigate, but in October a friend told him that he'd heard in a Chengera mosque that his former colleagues were enraged and planning to kill him.
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When Lubenga felt like giving up on his new faith, he said, he received a call from Bishop Umar Mulinde, his former pastor at Gospel Life Church International who was scarred in a Christmas Eve acid attack by Muslim extremists. Mulinde told him the church was praying for him, and Lubenga was deeply heartened, he said.
"All my family members have deserted me," he said by telephone. "The Muslims are looking to kill me. I need protection and help."
The Islamic extremists who had declared war on "infidels" such as Lubenga had been threatening him since 2007, when he first began to speak of dreams and visions of Christ. Dangers peaked in 2010, when Muslims saw him visiting a church in Uganda. By April 2010, one of his four wives had poisoned him because of his budding faith in Christ, leaving him unconscious, he said. After his recovery, he fled Chengera to a village 25 kilometers from Kampala, Kiwangala.
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In 2007, he said, he told his Muslim jihadist friends that he had seen Jesus in a dream. He said they had warned him, "Do not make such a mistake again – we are ready to help you. If you continue with this move, then we will destroy you. You know that you are a sheikh."
He reported the threats to police at Insanje sub-county, Wakizo district, angering his colleagues, who sent threatening letters.
"I explained to them that it is Jesus who came to me, and not I who sought Him," he said. "They were furious. They then kidnapped me and blindfolded me for three days, coupled with beatings. They demanded I deny Jesus as the Son of God, which I consented to because I feared that they were going to kill me."
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"I heard that nowadays you do go to church, and you are claiming that you saw Jesus," his father told him. When he answered in the affirmative, reaffirming his decision to follow Jesus, his father was crestfallen; he later committed suicide, leaving a letter that read, "I have decided to kill myself because my son became a Christian" and urged all family members to curse him.
Lubenga said that since then he has been in hiding, growing more terrified as threats intensified.
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Compass Direct, January 27, 2012
Father beats one of his daughters to death with a blunt object after discovering she and her sister converted to Christianity, gathers a group of 32 youths to attack their church
The 17-year-old daughter of a Muslim man in Uganda was able to attend one church service this month before he killed her for leaving Islam, sources said.
Abdul Hakim Ibanda of Kamuli town in eastern Uganda beat Nanvunani Shamimu and her 19-year-old sister, Nawudo Hasifa, with a blunt instrument after learning that they had attended the church service on April 6, Hasifa told Morning Star News.
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Area Muslims who saw them enter the church building immediately reported it to their father, sources said. He gathered a group of 32 youths to attack the church, said pastor Musis James of United Believers Church.
“When we saw the rowdy youth approaching the church, the Christians made an alarm and we all left the service in readiness for any eventuality,” James said. “Some of the Muslims retreated, while a few came to where we were and warned us that the two girls should not worship with them, then they left.”
The two sisters arrived home that evening to find their father was furious.
“Our father did not even greet us, but immediately questioned us why we decided to attend the church,” Hasifa said. “We kept quiet. Our silence angered our father. He removed a blunt object and started beating us indiscriminately. My sister was hit somewhere near the neck. She fainted and became unconscious. My father got shocked and stopped beating me. He tried to wake up my sister, but there was no response. I knew she was gone.”
Ibanda wanted to kill her also, Hasifa said, but he was also overcome with fear and decided to perform Islamic ablution. He told her to fetch some water outside for the ritual cleansing. “When I got out of the house, I decided to slowly escape to the home of a nearby church elder, but I was feeling a lot of pain,” Hasifa said.
The church elder put her on a motorcycle and drove her to an undisclosed town where she sought refuge among Christians.
“She arrived at my house bleeding,” the pastor of the area church, undisclosed for security reasons, told Morning Star News. “Her left hand was also injured. We as a church have taken the responsibility of taking care of her.”
The pastor said that when he mentioned to Hasifa that they must report the case to police, she wept and said, “You people want my father to kill me the way he killed my sister?” At the same time, Hasifa granted permission for Morning Star News to publish her account of the attack.“The girl is still traumatized as a result of the death of her sister and needs prayers and counseling,” said the pastor in the majority-Christian nation, which is 11.5 percent Muslim, according to Operation World. Hasifa told Morning Star News her father would not want her to return home. “I know I cannot go back to my father because I have become a Christian,” she said. “I am grateful to the church for welcoming me and taking me as their child. I now have a new home.”