Tuesday, February 6, 2018

RLPB 441. Uganda: high cost of faith in Muslim-dominated Eastern Region

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 441 | Wed 07 Feb 2018

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UGANDA: HIGH COST FAITH IN MUSLIM-DOMINATED EASTERN REGION
by Elizabeth Kendal

[click on map to enlarge]
Eastern Region = Green
Districts: Kibuku (91)
Budaka (7)
Mayuge (53)
source
Kibuku District: Munabi Abudallah (37) asked his local sheikh why Islamic prayers were conducted in Arabic, a language he did not understand. The sheikh explained that it is because Allah communicated to Muhammad in Arabic; he also advised Munabi not to question it. Confused and disillusioned, Munabi asked local Christians how their God communicated with them. They explained that the God of the Bible communicates with people in their own language. On 20 January, after several private sessions with a local pastor, Munabi came to see that 'God is love' (1 John 4:8,16) and decided to put his faith in Jesus. At that moment he received 'a unique peace that I had not experienced before'. Unable to contain his joy, Munabi shared his experience with Aisha his wife. In the presence of their seven children aged 3 to 17, Aisha shouted at Munabi, calling him 'kafir' (unclean/infidel). Horrified and furious she drove him from their home. The next day, Munabi visited the pastor, who duly prayed with him. He then returned home to find his father and other local Muslims gathered there, their anger evident. Furious, his father disowned, cursed and struck him. Shocked, Munabi fled back to the pastor. Within 24 hours of coming to faith in Christ, Munabi had lost his wife and seven children, his parents and his home, his community and his security. Understandably, he is absolutely traumatised. 'The Muslims are searching to kill me,' he said. 'I need prayers.'

Budaka District: Nafamba Bongo Madina and her husband put their faith in Jesus some two years ago. Though her husband subsequently died, Nafamba remained firm in her faith and continued to raise their five children, aged 5 to 14, in the Lord. On Christmas morning (25 December 2017) one of Nafamba's Muslim neighbours brought her a gift hamper. Nafamba prepared the Christmas meal for her family and guests, using the cooking oil from the hamper. Before plating up the food, she tasted it. Within a minute Nafamba was vomiting and screaming. Her family raced her to the hospital where doctors treated her for poisoning. Later her relatives took the gifted cooking oil for analysis, which confirmed the oil had been laced with poison. Horrified by the attack, the village chairman, John Guloba, a Christian, convened a village meeting for 28 December. He questioned the culprit, Taaka Hajira, who freely confessed to attempting to kill the Madina family, which she held in contempt for leaving Islam. Despite her confession, village elders refused to make any legal decision. They also decided not to call the police, so as to avoid stoking the wrath of fundamentalist Muslims. Consequently, persecution of the family -- particularly of the children -- has only escalated.

Mayuge District: In October 2015 Mulangira Ibrahim -- a missionary of Islam and sheikh on Dagusi Island (which is on Lake Victoria in Mayuge District) -- had a vision in which he saw himself holding a Bible. Confused, he decided to visit the local Evangel World Vision Church and have a chat with its pastor. To allay fears, he took along a child from the Islamic school, intending that the child would enter the church, find the pastor and ask him to meet the sheikh at the door. However, upon arriving at the church door, Sheikh Ibrahim fell to the ground, temporarily blinded. Terrified, the child ran off screaming that the Christians had killed the sheikh. When the pastor arrived at the door, he found Sheikh Ibrahim praising 'Issa' (Jesus) as Lord. Muslims, who also had rushed to the scene, beat Ibrahim until Christians could rescue him. The Muslims then proceeded to Sheikh Ibrahim's home. They took away his wife, Nalunkuma, and his three children aged 4 to 8, and left a note warning him not to return. Within hours of confessing that Jesus is Lord, he had lost everything.

Former sheikh, now brother in Christ,
Mulangira Ibrahim (27).
source: Morning Star News
On 16 November 2017 Muslims tricked and ambushed Mulangira Ibrahim and beat him into unconsciousness. Christians found Mulangira in a pool of blood and called police. Pastor Charles Musana of the Evangel World Vision Church rushed Mulangira to a nearby medical dispensary where he received treatment for multiple injuries. On 7 December a Muslim broke into the house the church was renting for Mulangira close to the dispensary, and attempted to kill him, this time suffocating him into unconsciousness. Muslims have vowed to kill him. While the church has moved him to a secret location where he is under the care of believers, his injuries require ongoing medical treatment. 'At the moment the medical bill is high,' said his pastor. 'We need prayers for a quick recovery.'

Uganda is roughly 85 percent Christian, with a Christian president and a secular constitution that guarantees religious freedom. Yet persecution with impunity is fast becoming the order of the day in the Muslim-dominated Eastern Province. For a full analysis of why persecution is so severe and unrelenting in Uganda's Eastern Region, see Uganda Analysis: escalating persecution of Christians in Eastern Region linked to Islamisation, decentralisation and impunity. Religious Liberty Monitoring, 8 May 2017.

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The three cases summarised in this RLPB are available in detail on the website of Morning Star News -- search Uganda. 
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PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR

* Munabi Abudallah, that God will comfort, encourage, sustain and protect him; may the Lord supply his every need. May the Holy Spirit open the heart of his wife, Aisha, to receive the Gospel. May Munabi's family and friends be convicted of sin and drawn to repentance and reconciliation. May God watch over the church and keep it safe.

* Nafamba Madina and her children, that God will comfort, encourage, sustain and protect them. May the Lord supply their every need. May Taaka Hajira (the Muslim culprit) be convicted of sin and drawn to repentance. May many local Muslims be drawn to the God of amazing grace; the God who is love.

* Mulangira Ibrahim, that God will comfort, encourage, sustain and protect him. May the Lord supply his every need, in particular his need for physical healing. May the Holy Spirit open the heart of his wife, Nalunkuma, to receive the Gospel. May God watch over Pastor Charles Musana and the Evangel World Vision Church and keep them safe.

* God to intervene in Uganda's central government, to remind members of Parliament of their responsibility to ensure that the constitutional right to religious freedom applies to all citizens and stretches across the whole state, including Muslim-dominated Eastern Region.


SUMMARY FOR BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE
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HIGH COST FAITH IN UGANDA'S MUSLIM-DOMINATED EASTERN REGION

Uganda's population is 85 percent Christian, with a Christian president and a secular constitution that guarantees religious freedom. However, persecution with impunity is becoming prevalent in the Muslim-dominated Eastern Region. Munabi Abudallah put his faith in Christ on 20 January and within 24 hours had lost everything. On Christmas Day a Muslim neighbour attempted to poison the Madina family, which she held in contempt for leaving Islam for Christianity. In October 2015 Shiekh Mulangira Ibrahim had a dramatic conversion experience and within hours had lost everything; Muslims are still trying to kill him today. Islamists are exploiting Uganda's decentralisation and following Sharia principles locally. The persecution is enabled by systemic corruption. Without radical reform, the situation can only get worse. Please pray for Uganda, her politicians and her Church.

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Elizabeth Kendal is an international religious liberty analyst and advocate. She serves as Director of Advocacy at Canberra-based Christian Faith and Freedom (CFF), and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Arthur Jeffery Centre for the Study of Islam at Melbourne School of Theology.


She has authored two books: Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today (Deror Books, Melbourne, Australia, Dec 2012) which offers a Biblical response to persecution and existential threat; and After Saturday Comes Sunday: Understanding the Christian Crisis in the Middle East (Wipf and Stock, Eugene, OR, USA, June 2016).

See www.ElizabethKendal.com