(Morning Star News) – The young man did not answer after his father asked him if he had ditched Islam to become a Christian.
Magale (also called Mabala) Hamidu, 20, of Nanoko village in eastern Uganda, had become a Christian seven months before. He had been failing to attend mosque prayers, and his father had learned that twice a Christian pastor had visited him at their home.
As Hamidu kept quiet, his father began beating him with a stick, sources told Morning Star News. They said other family members picked up sticks and joined in.
Hamidu’s screams on that day, Sept. 20, alerted neighbors who managed to pull the bleeding young man away. He was rushed to a community clinic in Tirinyi Sub-County, Kibuku District, where he was treated for injuries to his head and right hand and discharged, they said.
A neighbor told Morning Star News that Hamidu’s father, Kasani Mubali, said he wants to kill his son.
“I will rest only after getting rid of Hamidu – he has become a big embarrassment to my family,” the neighbor said Mubali told him.
After being discharged from the hospital, Hamidu was taken to Pastor Joseph Kisense of New Valley Baptist Church in Kiryolo. Pastor Kisense said he reported the alleged assault to the chairman of the Tirinyi Local Council, who in turn notified Tirinyi police.
The pastor said he is consulting with police officers about whether to arrest Mubali, as they believe it would trigger Islamist attacks on him or his church because several Muslims have come to Christ through his ministry.
Pastor Kisense said he has been receiving threats from area Muslims.
“We are aware that several of our Muslim members are being accommodated by your church, and if you continue housing them, then be informed that your church and life has been marked, and expect something serious to happen soon,” read one anonymous message, he said.
After a friend persuaded Hamidu to attend an open-air, evangelistic event on Feb. 15 near the church site in Kiryolo, Hamidu had felt a deep sense of sinful mortality and spoke with Pastor Kisense afterwards. The pastor took him to the church building, where Hamidu prayed to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.
For months the young man secretly attended the church before he was discovered. He is now in hiding.
Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with many concentrated in the eastern part of the country. In August, a woman in eastern Uganda who put her faith in Christ went into hiding after her husband beat her for leaving Islam, sources said.
Sophia Nakisaala, 35, turned to Christ on Aug. 7 after her daughter was healed when a street preacher she’d heard in Bulopa village, Kamuli District, prayed for her, she said.
Earlier this year Muslims began monitoring pastor Christopher James Kalaja of Nakabale village, Kaderuna Sub-County, because he filed a court case against those who recently destroyed his farm, home and church building, his wife told Morning Star News.
The incident is one of many recent attacks by non-state figures on Christians in eastern Uganda. 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.