Pray for Uganda’s stability so that it can become a better place of refuge for persecuted Christians
General overview of the nation
The great British statesman, Winston Churchill, once described Uganda as “the pearl of Africa!” Uganda is indeed a very beautiful country with a welcoming atmosphere. Uganda also has the reputation of being one of the most Christian countries in Africa and as a result, it has often been a preferred choice for the mission projects of many Churches and organizations. Uganda is a strongly Christian nation with high church attendance.
However, Uganda’s unique history makes it particularly vulnerable to the influence of Islam. During the 1970s, Uganda was ruled by a dictator named Idi Amin. At one point, Amin visited fellow dictator Muammar Gaddafi of Libya who inspired him to make Uganda a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries and begin to Islamize the country.
Many of the policies Amin put in place continue to influence society and government today. The Ugandan Parliament even recently passed Sharia banking, which gives zero-interest loans to Islamic projects. Arab countries also continue to invest large amounts of resources into furthering Muslim interests within the country. As a result of this, radical Islam’s influence has grown by more than 7 percent in the last three years and many Christians, especially those who convert from Islam have been facing severe persecution.
Statistics indicated that nearly 85% of the population is Christian.
Persecution comes from Islamists within communities neighboring the majority Muslim border regions, especially along the eastern, southwestern and northern borders.
What it means to be a Christian in Uganda
Even though Uganda’s constitution provides for religious freedom including “the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another,” Christians who convert from Islam face family pressure and harassment and are usually severely beaten and injured either by their Muslim parents or by the Muslim community. Pastors and churches have been attacked and some converts have been killed for their Christian faith.
In November 2019, Ronald Rajab Nayekuliza, a father of four children in Kokola village, Namutumba District in Eastern Uganda was poisoned by his Muslim relatives for leaving Islam.
In August 2019, four family members were burnt to death in Nakaseke District for converting from Islam to Christianity when Muslim extremists set their house on fire.
In March 2019, a 28-year-old imam named Sheikh Hassan Podo, in Kerekerene village in eastern Uganda, was found in a pool of blood, unconscious, after being beaten by his Muslim relatives for converting to Christianity.
Earlier in 2019, Simon Mustafa Waseke a former Muslim and a resident of the Kibenga area, Lyama parish in Kakutu Sub-County was terribly beaten for converting from Islam to Christianity. The building of the church he had started was demolished to the ground by radical Muslims who were led by an imam of the area and Wasekes’ followers were told, “No more prayers in this place, or else you will all lose your lives.”
In 2013, gunmen who were just a short distance away from a police station, applied chloroform to Hassan Ndyasasirwa: a Christian convert from Islam in Katwe, tied him into a sack and threw him into a ditch.
In 2011, Muslim extremists attacked a convert from Islam, Pastor Umar Mulinde, of Gospel Life Church, Namasuba and threw acid in his face leaving him disfigured and partially blind in his right eye. What is more frightening is that even the file of that attempted murder case is alleged to have been stolen from the police! Again, later on in 2018, men dressed in Islamic attire forcefully broke into his house in the middle of the night seeking to kill him.
In 2009, suspected Islamic extremists detonated a bomb at a prayer meeting led by Joseph Sserwadda, head of the Born-Again Faith and senior pastor of Victory Christian Church in Kampala. Three people were killed and 20 others were injured. That same year, a knife-wielding man tried to cut off the head of evangelist Abas Luyombya in Old Tax Park, in the heart of Kampala. Luyombya escaped with a wound in his palm.