KAMPALA, UGANDA (BosNewsLife)-- Evangelical Christians in eastern Uganda have been mourning a teenage girl who was reportedly beaten to death by her Muslim father after she converted to Christianity.
Nanvunani Shamimu, 17, died of her injuries, April 6, just hours after visiting the evangelical United Believers Church in the town of Kawaga in Kamuli District, Christians said. Her sister Nawudo Hasifa, who joined her in accepting Jesus Christ as "Lord and Saviour", said she was also hit with "a blunt instrument".
Their father, publicly identified as Abdul Hakim Ibanda, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The two sisters converted to Christianity after both had a dream of seeing Jesus, Nawudo Hasifa said in published remarks. "The pastor prayed for us to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. After prayers we then went to church, where the pastor introduced us to the church and that we were new members of the church. The church faithful were cheerful to receive us."
However local Christians said Muslims within the church had been spying on them and reported their conversion to their father. Pastor Musis James of United Believers Church said their father gathered some 32 youth to threaten the congregation.
The girls fled, but were allegedly awaited by a furious father, who asked them why they attended church. "Our silence angered our father. He removed a blunt object and started beating us indiscriminately," Nawudo Hasifa was quoted as saying by Morningstar News agency.
"My sister was hit somewhere near the neck...fainted and became unconscious. My father got shocked and stopped beating me. He tried to wake up my sister, but there was no response," she reportedly said.
"I knew she was gone. When I got out of the house, I decided to slowly escape to the home of a nearby church elder, but I was feeling a lot of pain."
A church elder eventually rescued her by placing her on a motorcycle and driving her to an undisclosed village. "I know I cannot go back to my father because I have become a Christian."
Yet despite the reported suffering she has no regrets.
"I am grateful to the church for welcoming me and taking me as their child. I now have a new home."
Islam is influential in this African nation of some 36 million people, which is recovering from the abyss of civil war and economic catastrophe.