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Christian man beaten to death by his family for leaving Islam in Uganda

A young Christian man has died after family members beat him for leaving Islam while his cousin, also beaten, is fighting for his life. His Muslim parents and other relatives of the two men in Budaka Town beat them with sticks and other blunt objects in late July before leaving them semi-conscious in a heap of banana plantation leaves, said the critically injured survivor, twenty-three-year-old Ahmad Waisana. His twenty-year-old cousin, Jalilu Kamutono, succumbed to his injuries on the 5th of August.


“I have been spending sleepless nights thinking of my cousin and best friend, Jalilu,” Waisana told Morning Star News by phone from his sick-bed. “My whole body is aching. I am not sure whether I will get well or die and go to be with Christ.” Waisana said he suffered injuries to his head and a kidney.

He and Kamutono, whose fathers are brothers, last year began listening to radio broadcasts of a former Muslim preacher who made comparisons between the Bible and Koran in defence of Christianity, Waisana said.

In October, after hearing preaching at an open-air evangelistic event in Budaka Town, the two men made a public confession of faith in Christ.

The fact of their conversion immediately reached their parents, who angrily chased them away from the house where both families were living by the time the cousins returned from the event. They rented a house in Mbale and began selling food items for a living.

When the government announced a lockdown to control spread of the novel coronavirus in April, they were unable to work and moved in with various Christian friends, Waisana said. After three months, unable to rotate to others’ homes or at church premises because of the lockdown, they decided to take a chance by returning home.

“Life became very harsh, and we decided to return back home hoping that we were going to be welcome,” Waisana told Morning Star News. “At home we were questioned whether we were Christians, and we affirmed to them that we were still Christians but pleaded that we be received back. To our surprise, we were received with hostility, and the relatives arrived and started beating us with sticks and blunt objects before burying us in banana leaves.”

Their relatives were about to set them on fire when some cattle herders and Christians passed by, he said. “The herdsmen and four Christians who were on their way to purchase some land arrived, and the relatives fled,” Waisana explained.

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 twelve per cent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

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