Date: August 10, 2021
Muslim father forces her to ingest mosquito repellant, she says.
By Our East Africa Correspondent
NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A mother of four children in eastern Uganda remains in pain after her Muslim father beat her and forced her to take mosquito repellant when he learned that she had left Islam and her Muslim husband and married a Christian, sources said.
When Hajira Namusobya, 34, visited her family in Pallisa on July 31, she was unaware that her family had learned that she had divorced the Muslim who had abused her so severely that she attempted suicide, she said. Her ex-husband in Kawangasi village, Butebo District had nearly killed her with torture, besides beating her weekly, she said.
“I tried to commit suicide by hanging myself with a rope, but I failed because my furious husband was following and monitoring my actions,” Namusobya said.
She had requested her father pay back the bride price that her Muslim husband had paid him, but he refused, she said. As the abuse intensified, Namusobya last year met a Christian woman in Nakaloke village, Mbale District, who urged her to pray to Christ for help.
Later the woman, an evangelist unnamed for security reasons who preaches at her church, led Namusobya to put her faith in Christ on Feb. 2, 2020. She kept her faith secret and decided to divorce her husband the following month, though he insisted on custody of their children, now ages 13, 11, 9 and 6, which deeply pained her, she said.
Namusobya later obtained a job as a waitress in a hotel in Iganga town, where she met and married a Christian whose name is withheld for security reasons.
“When I reached Pallisa, I was welcomed by my parents, not knowing that my parents were angry about me for leaving a Muslim man and getting married to a Christian man,” she said.
Her father, Al-haji Shafiki Pande, a Haji or Muslim who has traveled to Mecca for the Hajj, after dinner called for a family meeting and asked her about her new husband, she said.
“I told him everything, how I left the furious husband who almost took away my life and got married to a Christian man who is friendly and treats me as a wife,” Namusobya told Morning Star News. “My dad in a loud voice replied that that is impossible and it’s blasphemous to leave a Muslim for a Christian man, saying, ‘More so, you are a daughter of a Haji.”
He told her to return to her ex-husband in the morning and renounce Christianity, but she refused, Namusobya said.
“He slapped me and brought out his secret stick and Doom mosquito repellant and beat me badly, then forced me to take mosquito Doom,” she said. “It was too terrible.”
Her cries brought a neighbor, a former area chairman who is a moderate Muslim, to her rescue, and he took her to a nearby hospital, she said. Unconscious for three days, she later learned that the neighbor had threatened to press murder charges against her father.
“He threatened to sue my dad for the attempted murder,” Namusobya said. “My dad disappeared upon hearing this and is nowhere to be seen to date.”
After regaining consciousness on Aug. 3, Namusobya contacted her Christian husband and her evangelist friend. Considering it too dangerous to live with her Christian husband, they have arranged a safe house for her, and he is paying her medical bills, she said.
Fearing further retaliation from family members, they are refraining from filing a police report about the assault, she said.
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.