Date: November 15, 2023
Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 719
UGANDA: CONVERT BURNED; IMPUNITY MUST END
By Elizabeth Kendal
Marked in red: Bukaka town, located in central Eastern Region (orange).
(click on map to enlarge)
map source: worldometer
Hajara Namwase (32) of Kenkebu village, Budaka town, is a recent convert to Christianity. On 17 October, Hajara attended a small group prayer and Bible study gathering in the confidence that her Muslim husband, Musa Kalele (42), was away conducting business in neighbouring South Sudan. However, when Hajara returned home, she was shocked to find her husband had already returned. Horrified to see his wife with a New Testament and other Gospel literature, Musa flew into a rage. Aflame with Islamic indignation, Musa grabbed Hajara, wrapped her in a sheet, dragged her outside, dowsed her in gasoline, and set her alight. After all, the penalty for apostasy (leaving Islam) is death. [See: Islam Q&A (https://islamqa.info/en) – ‘Apostasy in Islam’.]
Doubtless Musa viewed his act as an honour killing through which he would rid himself, his family, and Islam of the shame of his wife’s apostasy. However, the couple have three children – aged 4, 6 and 9 years – and a daughter who witnessed the horrendous crime called out to neighbours who rescued the young mother and raced her to Mbale hospital. Suffering third-degree burns to much of her body, Hajara has since been transferred to a hospital in the capital, Kampala, where she is receiving specialised treatment. Meanwhile, her husband has fled to South Sudan and her children are residing with his mother (their paternal grandmother). [For full details see Morning Star News, 8 Nov 2023.]
This shocking crime presents Uganda with a critical test, on many levels. Article 2 of Uganda’s Constitution (1995) establishes: ‘(1) This Constitution is the supreme law of Uganda and shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout Uganda. (2) If any other law or any custom is inconsistent with any of the provisions of this Constitution, the Constitution shall prevail, and that other law or custom shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.’ Following that, Article 29 guarantees, ‘Protection of freedom of conscience, expression, movement, religion, assembly and association.’ That said, it must be noted, that in many Muslim-dominated areas, secularism and religious freedom exist more in theory than in practice. Emboldened by persistent impunity (a consequence of systemic corruption, patronage and complacency) Muslims are growing more assertive. Persecution is escalating precisely because radicalised Muslims are applying Islamic laws and customs without consequence. The impunity must end!
Musa Kalele must be arrested in South Sudan and extradited to stand trial in Uganda for the torture and attempted murder of his wife. Hajara Namwase must retain custody of her children, along with parental rights to make decisions concerning their welfare, regardless of how eager her Muslim relatives might be to see her children given into the custody of Muslims, as is mandated by Islam.
PLEASE PRAY THAT OUR GRACIOUS GOD WILL:
- mercifully bless Hajara Namwase with radical healing, not only of her burned body, but also of her traumatised soul. May the Lord protect her from any infection and may the doctors be awed by her recovery. May Hajara find comfort in the powerful presence of her Good Shepherd, loving Saviour, Heavenly Father. May the Lord provide her with the best medical care and legal counsel so she might live and be reunited with her three now traumatised children. Lord have mercy!
- intervene to protect the church in Kenkebu (Hajara’s home village) which could be targeted by angry Islamists now that Hajara’s conversion is no longer secret. This could especially be the case if Musa is arrested and Hajara retains custody of their children, all contrary to Islamic law and custom. Lord have mercy!
- mercifully redeem this horrendous suffering: may many Muslims find their conscience awakened and their hearts softened, such that they will turn away from intolerant Islam towards the light and life and love of Jesus Christ. We pray this especially for Hajara’s family: her parents, her in-laws, and especially her children. Lord of amazing grace, ‘in wrath remember mercy’ (Habakkuk 3:2).
- intervene in Uganda to bring an end to the systemic corruption, patronage and impunity that is threatening the state’s religious harmony and cohesion.