Tuesday, August 18, 2015

RLPB 323. Uganda: persecution on the rise in Eastern Province

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 323 | Wed 19 Aug 2015

By Elizabeth Kendal

Uganda's population is approximately 85 percent Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with full religious freedom. Most of Uganda's Muslims live in the Eastern Region where persecution of Christians is escalating [map with districts]. Two factors would drive this trend. First, Islamic radicalisation is a global trend, but the degree of intolerance manifesting as violence depends largely on what is being taught in local mosques. If local mosques have been infiltrated with hard-line Wahhabi/Salafi imams, often Saudi-funded, then persecution is guaranteed to escalate. Secondly, Uganda is one of five African states contributing to the fight against al-Shabaab through the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Al-Shabaab has been threatening retaliation on Uganda for years, but has increased its rhetoric in recent months as Uganda has increased its involvement in Somalia. Recent AMISOM advances in 'Operation Jubba Corridor', which has dislodged al-Shabaab from its strongholds in Southern Somalia, were largely enabled by Uganda's provision of transport and attack helicopters. AMISOM forces have rarely had air cover. With these helicopters being based in Somalia, air cover and air transport will now be more available. All this would agitate fundamentalist Muslims in Uganda's Eastern Region, inflaming Islamic zeal and stoking a desire for revenge.
all the attacks reported
by MSN (2015) occurred
inside the red triangle.

It is most critical that the Ugandan government combat the escalating persecution because appeasement and impunity will only open the door to further escalation. The following attacks, reported by Morning Star News (MSN), all occurred in Eastern Region and are simply the most recent in a string of similar attacks. [See MSN: Uganda]

On 11 August Issa Kasoon (a Muslim) beat and strangled his wife Jafalan Kadondi, in Nsinze village, Namutumba District, leaving her for dead. However, she survived and is receiving specialist care for throat injuries. Relatives joined Kasoon in beating Kadondi and the couple's two sons, Ismael (16) and Ibrahim (18) whose arm was broken when struck with a blunt object. The reason for the attack: Kasoon had discovered that his family had converted to Christianity.

Once an Islamic teacher (sheikh), Hassan Muwanguzi is now an evangelist for Jesus Christ. He has suffered intensive persecution since turning to Christ in his early 20s in 2003. His family disowned him, his wife left him, he has been forced to fight false charges levelled against him, he is routinely beaten and in 2012 his house was burned down. Despite all this, Muwanguzi has opened a Christian school in Kibuku District. In March 2014 Muwanguzi survived an attempted poisoning at the hands of Muslim relatives. On 16 June 2014 a group of Muslims attempted to kill him, and when they could not, they murdered his daughter Grace (12) instead. On 29 June 2015 Muwanguzi (who is remarried and has three surviving children) foiled another assassination plot. Then on 2 July armed Muslims broke into his home late at night but fortunately Muwanguzi was away at a prayer meeting. Seeing Muwanguzi's home being thoroughly looted, neighbours tried to intervene, at which point the intruders brandished knives and vowed to have Muwanguzi's head (literally) because he had become an enemy of Islam.

On 17 June 2015, in Nabuli village, Kibuku District, Namumbeiza Swabura, a mother of eleven including a 5-month-old baby, died after being poisoned by her sister-in-law. Swabura and her husband Mugoya Muhammad, a former sheikh, had been receiving death threats since becoming Christians in August 2014. The couple's pastor, James Kalaja of New Hope Church in Nabuli, told MSN that Nabuli village has many Muslims hostile to Christians. Kalaja is no stranger to suffering: Muslims gang-raped his 17-year-old daughter after he ignored their demands to cease his Christian ministry. Kalaja subsequently moved his family to a safer village and only travels into the village now to lead Sunday worship. His daughter is profoundly traumatised. Meanwhile, widower Muhammad, now a single father of eleven, continues to receive death threats on his mobile phone.


* 'the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction' (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 ESV) will lift up and sustain those who have suffered so terribly and lost so much because of their faith in, love of and service for the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for all Ugandan Christians presently suffering for their faith: especially for Jafalan Kadondi and her sons Ismael and Ibrahim; for Hassan Muwanguzi and his family; for widower Mugoya Muhammad and his eleven children; for the Kalaja family ministering in Nabuli.

* the Lord of Hosts will guide and protect his people and frustrate the ways of the wicked. (See Psalm 146.) May persecutors who seek to harm believers come to know conviction of sin, especially those who have beaten and killed members of their own family.

* the government in Kampala will move to rein in Islamic radicalisation, intolerance and escalating persecution; may the government of President Yoweri Museveni resist the path of appeasement and act to preserve freedom and security.

* local police will uphold the law, arrest the persecutors and prosecute their crimes; may there be no impunity for violent Islamic persecution in Uganda.


Uganda's Muslims (11 percent of the population) live mostly in the Eastern Region where persecution of Christians is escalating. Radicalisation, Muslim anger over Uganda's involvement in Somalia, and impunity are all factors. Converts from Islam and those in Christian ministry are persecuted the worst. Mugoya Muhammad, a Christian former Islamic teacher (sheikh), was widowed in June when his wife was murdered by relatives because of her faith. He is left raising their 11 children. Another former sheikh, Hassan Muwanguzi, has suffered immensely since turning to Christ in 2003. Muslims murdered his daughter in 2014 and are still after his 'head' -- literally. Muslims gang-raped Pastor Kalaja's daughter (17) after he refused to cease ministry. On 11 August convert Jafalan Kadondi and her two sons barely survived an attack by Muslim relatives. Please pray.


 Elizabeth Kendal is the author of
Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
(Deror Books, Dec 2012).