VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Category Archives: Uganda

Unable to Finish School for Becoming Christian, Young Man in Uganda Faces Bleak Future

(Morning Star News) – Asuman Kaire is missing his last year in high school in eastern Uganda for having become a Christian two years ago.

Homeless and without money to pay school fees since his Muslim stepfather disowned him earlier this year in Lelya-A village, Kabweri County in Kibuku District, the 20-year-old Kaire said he wouldn’t be able to finish high school even if he had the money.

“I fear my classmates who are Muslims, as they might plan something bad for my life,” Kaire told Morning Star News.

He spoke from experience. Having been informed that Kaire was living at a village church building, local Muslims with sticks and Somali swords on June 15 attacked, demanding his death as they tried to enter the church compound shouting the jihadist slogan, “Allah Akbar [God is greater],” sources said.

Christians and Muslim neighbors in the predominantly Muslim area with the help of a local official managed to repel the assailants, sources said. Kaire sought shelter at the home of a Christian at an undisclosed location.

After putting his faith in Christ in 2017 and secretly meeting with an undisclosed church, Kaire’s life began to crumble this year when Muslim relatives began monitoring his movements after his mosque attendance dropped. In March a Muslim classmate told his stepfather he attended a church, sources said.

On April 7, his stepfather, Abdu Talisuna, waited for him along with seven other radical area Muslims on a roadside as Kaire made his way home from a church service. Talisuna alone beat him with a blunt object, leaving him unconscious, his clothes bloodied, his left leg broken and his right hand injured, sources said.

“The Muslim stepfather caught hold of him close to the church and started beating him at around 7 p.m.,” a church elder told Morning Star News. “He cried for help. Several members of the church were still around who rushed to the scene. When the Muslims saw the big number from the church, they ran away, leaving the young man unconscious.”

Kaire was rushed to a Kibuku hospital and discharged after a week, the church leader said.

He has not been able to go home since then.

“My stepfather beat me saying I am a disgrace to the family,” Kaire told Morning Star News by phone. “After recovering, I feared going back home because I knew they were going to kill me.”

Kaire needs a long-term place to stay and an opportunity to attend school elsewhere, area Christians said.

The attack is the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in eastern Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

Converts, Pastors Threatened with Death; Gospel Meetings Banned in Town in Uganda

(Morning Star News) – Police have banned evangelistic events in a town in western Uganda following open-air preaching in which many Muslims put their faith in Christ, sources said.

Churches in Bwera, on Uganda’s western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, held a joint evangelistic event amid the large Muslim population in Bwera beginning on May 20. The success of the event led not only to the ban but to church leaders receiving evangelistic , pastors said.

“Tomorrow we are coming to kill all of you during the open air crusade,” read one text message to a church leader a day after several Muslims put their faith in Christ on May 20.

Police halted the event, which was supposed to continue until May 26, on May 25.

On the first day, several former Muslims spoke at the open-air meeting, the church leaders said.

“Jesus changed my life when I acknowledged him as my Lord and being the Son of the most high God,” one former sheikh (Muslim teacher) testified.

This testimony touched many people, and large numbers showed up the following day, many of them putting their faith in Christ, church leaders said. In all, 35 Muslims put their faith in Christ.

Another former sheikh on the second day of the event used the Koran to argue for the uniqueness of Jesus. Offended Muslims began mobilizing, and more than 250 Muslims armed with long swords and clubs showed up at the event on May 25 in anticipation of attacking.

Muslim leaders reported what speakers were saying at the meeting to police, who summoned church leaders, pastors said. Hundreds of Muslims marched to Bwera police station led by several Islamist leaders issuing threats and calling for the meetings to be banned, organizers said.

“We cannot allow the Christians to use the Koran in their meetings or to allege that Jesus is the Son of God – this a serious blasphemy to Muslims,” said the head of the mosque in Bwera, Muzamiru Aramanzani, according to the pastors.

The demonstrating Muslims also threatened to kill all former Muslims who embraced Christianity in Bwera, the church leaders said.

“We cannot watch the Christians changing our faithful members to Christianity. If those who have joined Christianity will not return back to Islam, then we are going to treat them as infidels, hence deserving death according to the teaching of Islam,” said another sheikh, according to organizers.

Following the May 25 meeting, police later that day banned all open-air Christian meetings in Bwera, they said. The event had been scheduled to end on May 26.

The ban sent a chilling message to those who have become Christians, who said they are afraid to go to worship services or other Christian meetings.

“I am very afraid for my life,” said one former sheikh. “I have received threatening messages in my phone that the Muslims want my head.”

Organizing the event was the Anglican Church of Uganda, the Sound of Salvation Ministry and the Church of Uganda of Bwera Custom Church.

The churches hoped to complete the event by seeking the help of a large number of police and military personnel, but the Muslim’ threats to kill the church leaders if they continued invoking the Koran in their teaching led police to cut the campaign short, organizers said.

Church leaders in Bwera called on the international community to pray for protection and that converts remain firm in Christ.

The opposition marks the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

Large Family in Eastern Uganda Becomes Big Target for Muslim Extremists

(Morning Star News) – Yusuf Tulo and his sizeable family were worshiping in their home in eastern Uganda on April 28 when they heard their neighbors shouting, “Fire!”

Tulo, 35, had left Islam to put his faith in Christ last October. He still had three wives and 14 children dependent on him living on a homestead with more than one house in Bugwere village, and the house they used for worship was on fire.

When they went outside, however, something was not right; among neighbors standing around the house looking at the smoke, one said, “Please remain indoors – your lives are in danger.”

Tulo had been receiving threatening messages from Muslims for months, but faced with the danger of smoke coming from the house, he chose to remain outside. An hour later, the roof collapsed in flames and the house was charred.

“We lost everything in that house: beddings, clothing, books, documents and other household belongings worth more than $1,000,” Tulo told Morning Star News.

The village is in Kitantalo parish, Tirinyi Sub-County of Kibuku District, and Tirinyi police arrived at the scene an hour later.

Since then the family has been living with friends and neighbors – in intense fear for their lives, he said. Among the threats he has received, one text message read, “The burning of the house was just warning. If you continue hardening your hearts and fail to return to Islam, then expect a worst thing that you have never seen before,” he said.

“We thank God that no one was physically hurt but emotionally are very hurt as we continue receiving threatening messages warning us of a possible attack,” Tulo said. “The pressure from the extended family and radical Muslims is really troubling my family, and we cannot risk going back to our houses.”

Muslim extremists began throwing stones at their houses at night soon after the family embraced Christ and started attending a Pentecostal church in a nearby village. He began receiving threatening messages in January from radical Muslims who also have confronted family members on several occasions, he said.

Muslim villagers and the imam of the Bugwere mosque have insulted them verbally, with one villager saying in February, “If you do not come back to Islam, then expect something unusual to befall your family,” he said.

“Since then my family became vigilant, and we even hired a guard to take care of the family during the night, but the stone-throwing continued in one of the houses while the guard was on patrol on the other side of the homestead,” Tulo told Morning Star News.

The family requested financial assistance and prayer.

“We sincerely need prayers and financial support,” Tulo said. “My family is scattered, and the children are unable to go to school. We gave our lives to Jesus and here we are living a troubled, restless life. The law should bring these perpetrators to book.”

The attacks were the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in eastern Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

Photo: Charred home of Yusuf Tulo in Bugwere village, Kibuku District, eastern Uganda. (Morning Star News)

Imam in Eastern Uganda Faces Wrath of Muslims after Putting Faith in Christ

Hassan Podo, former sheikh beaten after his family learned he had become a Christian (Photo: Morning Star News/Google Map)

(Morning Star News) – Sheikh Hassan Podo, a 28-year-old imam in Kerekerene village in eastern Uganda, missed mosque prayers for three consecutive weeks and was seen entering a church building around noon on March 16.

He had kept his faith in Christ a secret for three weeks. The young Muslim who saw Podo enter the church building in Katira Sub-County, Budaka District, went straight to Podo’s parents and brothers to report him.

When Podo arrived at the house that evening, his family interrogated him about where he had spent the better part of the day.

“Without my completing answering them, my brothers immediately began surrounding me, with sticks,” Podo told Morning Star News. “It was difficult to escape. They began shouting, beating and insulting me as an ‘infidel’ and enemy of the Islamic religion.”

His wife and two children managed to escape to the home of a nearby Christian neighbor, he said.

With sticks and other blunt objects, Podo’s relatives injured his left arm from the shoulder to his fingers, said one of the area residents who found him unconscious. He also sustained a head injury.

“There was a loud cry emanating from Podo’s homestead, raising a big concern from the neighbors who arrived at the scene of attack and helped Podo to escape,” the source said. “He bled as he fled for his life. Later he was found in a pool of blood a kilometer away from the homestead, unconscious.”

They rushed him to a clinic in Katira, and he was discharged after two days and taken to a pastor whose name is withheld for security reasons. His wife and two children later joined him at an undisclosed location.

The pastor said Podo’s father, Mwanamwoiza Juma, has since mobilized a group of Muslims from different mosques “to hunt for the life of his son, declaring a fatwa and disowning him, and giving his land to the brothers for bringing blasphemy into the family. Sheikh Twale and Galami Abdulmutwalibi have been carrying out a series of prayers to curse Podo’s family. But we know the blood of Jesus will protect the family.”

The pastor has been giving Podo discipleship lessons to strengthen the family’s faith in the midst of the ordeal, he said.

Podo put his faith in Christ on Feb. 24 after hearing the message of His saving death and resurrection from another pastor. His wife became a Christian one week later, he said.

Before his conversion, Podo was part of a Muslim extremist group that had attacked the Church of Uganda’s Katira congregation.

“Please family of Christ, our humble request is that we covet prayers for Podo and his young family for God’s healing, medication, protection, provision and to get to a safe haven for the young family,” the pastor said.

The attacks were the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in eastern Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

Christian Mother, Pastor Face Death Threats in Uganda

“Please, we need prayer from God to give us direction on how to handle this delicate situation and the support for the young family of Kawanguzi, especially the young innocent children.”

Kenya (Morning Star News) – Shakira Wanyenze, a 31-year-old Muslim woman, had no idea that missing a ride back to her town in eastern Uganda from Kampala would change her life.

That day, June 17, Wanyenze decided to stay the night at the home of a relative in Kampala. She thought the relative, whose name is undisclosed for security reasons, was a Muslim. The relative told her she had put her trust in Christ for her salvation, and after a discussion that lasted late into the night, Wanyenze decided to do the same.

“After many hours of resisting the Christian faith, something convicted me that my life was heading for destruction, and therefore I need to put my faith in Jesus,” Wanyenze told Morning Star News by phone. “I was prayed for that night and had an overwhelming peace after accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior.”

Mother of four children between the ages of 5 and 9, for months Wanyenze managed to keep her faith a secret from her husband, Ismail Kawanguzi, when she returned home to Buyaga town council, Bulambuli District nearly six hours by car from Kampala.

Her husband began to become suspicious on Nov. 30 when he came home to find her praying with her children.

“My husband arrived home at around 8 p.m. on the 30th and heard me concluding the prayers using the name of Jesus,” she said. “When he interrogated me to give reasons why I was using the name of Jesus, I kept quiet.”

He was very tired and went to bed, she said.

“The following morning around 10 a.m., he repeated the same words of the previous night, and I still kept quiet,” Wanyenze said.

Her husband began slapping her, she said. After he had slapped her several times, she began screaming for help, and he took a large wooden board and struck her hand, causing two fingers to bleed, she said.

“I fell down, and he started to strangle me,” Wanyenze told Morning Star News. “Fortunately, neighbors arrived and rescued me and took me to a clinic at Buyaga town council for treatment, and I was discharged after two days.”

The neighbor who took her to the hospital then took her to a church pastor (name undisclosed for security reasons). The neighbor was later shocked to hear that Wanyenze’s husband had purchased a coffin, and rumors spread that he was planning to kill his wife. The neighbor took their four children to the church site.

The pastor has since received threatening messages from Kawanguzi, such as, “If you continue housing my wife in your house, then let it be known to you that soon I will be coming for your head,” the church leader told Morning Star News.

“Apart from such threats to my life, I am also concerned about my church,” the pastor added. “Please, we need prayer from God to give us direction on how to handle this delicate situation and the support for the young family of Kawanguzi, especially the young innocent children.”

The assault was the latest of many in eastern Uganda that Morning Star News has documented in the past six years.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another.

Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population.

Court Drops Charges of Kidnapping, ‘Human Sacrifice’ against Evangelist in Uganda

Church members who prayed for Hassan Muwanguzi in eastern Uganda. (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – A judge in Uganda last week dropped charges aimed at stirring up Islamist opposition against an evangelist who provides refuge to converts from Islam, sources said.

A court in Tirinyi, Kibuku District on March 13 dropped the charges of kidnapping and “human sacrifice” against Hassan Muwanguzi after the complainant and his attorney twice failed to show up in court, Muwanguzi’s attorney told Morning Star News.

Muwanguzi and his attorney appeared at a court hearing on March 10 at which the judge asked whether the complainant or his lawyer were present. They were not.

“The case was adjourned to March 13, and still the complainant failed to appear in court again when the charges were read against Muwanguzi,” the attorney said.

Muwanguzi told Morning Star News his lawyer then requested the court dismiss the case since there was no public witness.

“The magistrate heard the request of my lawyer, and he said, “The case has been dismissed,’” Muwanguzi said. “Immediately we left the courtroom, and as we got out we saw more than 15 Muslims, some dressed in Islamic attire, enter the court gate. We knew that they had come for hearing of the case.”

His lawyer told Muwanguzi that those arriving were too late, and that he should file a defamation case against them so that he could be compensated, the evangelist said.

“I answered him that as a Christian I will forgive them, just as our master Jesus did,” he said. “He [the attorney] was not content at first, but later he accepted it.”

Muwanguzi, who has suffered life-threatening attacks from jihadist Muslims, said he was thankful for the prayers and support of a pastor in Kibuku District at a time when his fears threatened to overcome him.

“Though I am still fearful from not knowing what the Muslims are now planning, the fears are now reduced,” he said.

Hours after Muwanguzi was released on bail on March 3, an Islamic leader urged village Muslims to kill him, an area source said. Muslims in eastern Uganda’s Kachomo village, Budaka District gathered that day to discuss how to stop Muwanguzi, a lay leader with the Church of Uganda well known in the region for his wide-ranging evangelism, said a source who snuck into the gathering. He said a sheikh (Islamic teacher) had told those present that Muwanguzi should be killed.

In an effort to defame Muwanguzi and stir up Islamist sentiment against him, Nghangha Mubakali on Feb. 26 accused him of kidnapping and making a human sacrifice of his daughter, Muwanguzi told Morning Star News. He said Namusisi Budadu Biryeri, 21, had taken refuge with him after her father beat her for putting her faith in Christ in 2015.

Police on Feb. 27 found her alive, and she told them she had sought refuge with Muwanguzi after her father kicked her out of their home on Nov. 12, 2015, for becoming a Christian that day.

Muwanguzi, a married father of six, has long housed converts from Islam in danger from hard-line Muslims.

Muwanguzi said he was grateful also to a pastor who made several calls to government officials about his arrest.

“Also, I am very grateful for the many church members who prayed for me,” he said. “Though the case has been dropped, I still need prayers because persecution is still going on, and I still have fears since I am taking care of many converts from Islam. I need protection and support for these new converts. I know nothing will separate me from the love of Christ and in serving Him.”

Uganda: Pastor and Others Missing after Muslims Beat Men and Rape Women in Congregation

The Rev. Musa Mukenye pleads for Christians to forgive Muslim assailants . (Morning Star News)

The Rev. Musa Mukenye pleads for Christians to forgive Muslim assailants . (Morning Star News)

(Morning Star News) – A pastor in eastern Uganda and eight other Christians are missing two weeks after a Muslim mob attacked a church prayer meeting, locked the congregation in, beat several members and raped 15 women, sources said.

The approximately 90 Muslims broke into the evening prayer meeting of Katira Church of Uganda, in Katira village, Budaka District at about 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 15 and beat them with clubs and sticks, area sources said. Previously Muslims had only thrown stones at the roof of the church building to disrupt church services of the 500-member congregation, villagers said.

At the evening service, about 80 members were present, and among those who escaped before the doors were locked was a Christian who heard one of the assailants shout, “Away with the pastor who is converting our Muslims to Christianity,” a church leader said.

Pastor Moses Mutasa had been outside questioning some visitors unknown to the church when several others arrived shouting, “Away with the pastor,” and he fled, said the Rev. Musa Mukenye, who oversees several churches in the district’s Iki-iki County.

“We do not know what has happened to our pastor, Moses Mutasa,” Pastor Mukenye told a meeting of local officials, police and other security officers. “He might have been killed or has been kept hostage.”

The assailants locked about half of those in attendance inside the building, (more…)

Christian Woman in Eastern Uganda Coerced into Taking Poison

Sandra Summaya, photo altered for security reasons. (Morning Star News)

Sandra Summaya, photo altered for security reasons. (Morning Star News)

One week after she receives Christ, Muslim relatives leave her to die.

(Morning Star News) – Muslim relatives of a young woman in eastern Uganda who put her faith in Christ at a Christmas service coerced her into taking poison at a New Year’s celebration, she said.

Sandra Summaya, 24, of Bugayi village in Pallisa District, told Morning Star News that she converted to Christianity at a worship service on Christmas Day.

“I had great peace when the pastor prayed for me to take Jesus as my savior,” she said. “I later shared my testimony with my brother, who outrightly accused me of being an infidel and an outcast from the family and the Muslim community. I felt great pain inside me because of the insults.”

On Sunday (Jan. 1) Summaya’s immediate family and a few other relatives gathered in the predominantly Muslim village in Kamuge County to celebrate the New Year with a meal. At the high point of the gathering, Summaya said, a paternal uncle read to her a Bible verse and suggested it meant God would protect her from harm, including illness from ingesting poison.

“He said, ‘Do you believe that Issa [Jesus] is able to protect your from poison as written in the Bible?’ and I answered ‘Yes,’” she said. “Immediately I was forced to take the poison to confirm my faith in the Bible, at around midnight. I could not deny the Bible, so I took the rat poison.”

Soon she became seriously ill.

“I started having severe stomach pains together with vomiting and cried for help,” she said. “I was taken away from the homestead to a nearby bush. I was tied with a rope to a tree and left to die.”

Her loud cries woke a Christian neighbor who rushed to the site.

“I found Summaya unconscious, and we rushed her to a Kamuge nursing home, where the doctor saved her life,” said the neighbor, whose name is withheld for security reasons.

Summaya remains at the hospital and her condition has stabilized, a nurse told Morning Star News.

“She will still be in the hospital for some few days as we monitor her situation,” said the nurse, who requested anonymity.

An area source requested prayer that Summaya be healed and protected, and that she not doubt God’s love and provision.

The incidents are the latest in a series of anti-Christian attacks in eastern Uganda. On Christmas Day Muslims in eastern Uganda beat Christians at a worship service and wrecked the home of a single mother on Christmas Eve, sources said.

On Dec. 8, relatives of a former Islamic teacher attacked his 60-year-old mother for becoming a Christian, wounding her head and breaking her hand, sources said. Aimuna Namutongi sustained a deep cut on her forehead. She and her son, 30-year-old Malik Higenyi, were trying to gather cassava at 10 a.m. on the homestead he had been forced to abandon in Bufuja village, Butaleja District, after Muslim relatives threatened to kill him if he returned.

Higenyi, whom Muslim relatives had beaten unconscious on Nov. 13 after he publically confessed having embraced Christianity, managed to escape the fury of those who arrived at his farm on Dec. 8 while he and his mother were trying to harvest something to eat, he told Morning Star News.

Namutongi became a Christian after visiting her ostracized, injured son on Nov. 26 and listening to his faith journey, a local source said. He has continued to receive threatening messages, he said.

On Oct. 20, Muslims in Kobolwa village, Kibuku District gutted the home of a Christian family for housing two boys who had been threatened with violence for leaving Islam.

Stephen Muganzi, 41, told Morning Star News that the two teenaged boys sought refuge with him on Oct. 16 after their parents earlier in the month learned of their conversion, began questioning them and threatened to kill them. The two boys, ages 16 and 17, had secretly become Christians nearly seven months before.

On Sept. 18, 2016, a Muslim in Budaka District beat his wife unconscious for attending a church service, sources said. Hussein Kasolo had recently married Fatuma Baluka, 21-year-old daughter of an Islamic leader in a predominantly Muslim village, undisclosed for security reasons.

On Aug. 10, a Christian woman in eastern Uganda became ill after she was poisoned, she said.

Aisha Twanza, a 25-year-old convert from Islam, ingested an insecticide put into her food after family members upbraided her for becoming a Christian, she told Morning Star News. She and her husband, who live in Kakwangha village in Budaka District, put their faith in Christ in January 2016.

In Busalamu village, Luuka District, eight children from four families have taken refuge with Christians after their parents beat and disowned them for leaving Islam or animism, sources said. The new-found faith of the children, ages 9 to 16, angered their parents, who beat them in an effort to deter them from sneaking to worship services, and on June 29, 2016 the young ones took refuge at the church building, area sources said.

About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another, but Christians in eastern Uganda are suffering continual attacks by non-state figures.

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