Date: July 2, 2021
Societal persecution continues unchecked in country.
By Our East Africa Correspondent
Hajat Habiiba Namuwaya of eastern Uganda was beaten and poisoned for leaving Islam. (Morning Star News)
NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A woman in eastern Uganda is struggling to recover after her Muslim father beat her and forced her to swallow a toxic substance for leaving Islam, sources said.
Hajat Habiiba Namuwaya, a 38-year-old mother of three, said she fled her home in Namakoko village, Nangonde Sub-County last month after Muslim relatives threatened her. She had put her faith in Christ in February after what she called a miraculous healing.
“My mother warned me that the family was planning to kill me,” Namuwaya told Morning Star News from her hospital bed. “I shared my fears with the pastor, and the pastor together with his family accepted to host me, and freely I openly shared my new life in Christ with friends on WhatsApp, which landed me in trouble.”
A text message about taking refuge at the home of her pastor, whose name is withheld for security reasons, reached her father, who mobilized other relatives to track her down, she said. Namuwaya said that on the morning of June 20, relatives arrived at the pastor’s home and began beating her.
“My father, Al-Hajji Mansuru Kiita, recited many Koranic verses cursing and denouncing me as no longer one of the family members,” she told Morning Star News. “He started beating and torturing me with a blunt object, inflicting bruises on my back, chest and legs, and finally forced me to drink poison, which I tried to resist but swallowed a little of it.”
When neighbors arrived in response to her cries for help, the Muslim relatives hurried away, leaving behind a letter denouncing her and the pastor, she said.
“The pastor was not around when the attackers arrived, but a neighbor telephoned him,” Namuwaya said. “He feared to come immediately but later came and found me fighting for my life. I was rushed to the nearby clinic for first aid, and later I was taken to another place for treatment and prayers.”
Besides the anguish of being separated from her children, ages 5, 7 and 12, who are with their father, Namuwaya needs further specialized treatment.
“I am restless with continuous pain in my stomach,” she said.
Her pastor reported the attack to a local official who granted her permission to stay with the church leader, but due to the dangers of her returning there, Namuwaya found shelter at an undisclosed site.
She has not notified police, fearing retaliation from relatives, including the possibility of them inventing false charges against her or the church.
“It is a very delicate situation,” a church leader said.
Formerly an Islamic teacher, Namuwaya put her faith in Christ on Feb. 24 after receiving healing from breast cancer when the pastor prayed for her, she said. Her family found out about her conversion after she sent text messages about it.
The assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.
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 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.