Islamic radicals severely beat 23-year-old Lydia Nabirye in Eastern Uganda, after the woman shared her Christian faith with a Muslim woman who subsequently converted to Christianity.
Morning Star News reported Monday both Ms. Nabirye and the young woman who converted from Islam to Christianity received beatings. The Christian convert, who is pregnant and preferred to remain anonymous, sustained serious injuries as a result of the assault.
Nabirye, the daughter of a Church of God evangelist, offered refuge to the young convert in her home after Muslim family members of the woman threatened her. Six other former Muslims are also staying with her after receiving similar threats.
“Her mother knows that her daughter is with me, because we have been close friends with her for more than four years,” Nabirye told Morning Star News by phone. “The family knows about our relationship with her.”
The beating of Ms. Nabirye occurred on April 7 when she went to console another former Muslim who was mourning the loss of a son who had died and Muslims saw her entering the property. Nabirye was attacked by a band of radical Muslims while she was walking back to her village.
“They held me and started beating me up,” Nabirye said. “They slapped me, and others hit me with sticks, saying that they were out to kill me because I was changing Muslims to become Christians.”
One witness to the assault said that the Muslims ambushed, strangled, and severely beat Nabirye. Neighbors called the police when they heard the woman screaming and the attackers fled the scene when police arrived, he said.
“When I met her at her home on April 14, she was still in pain from multiple injuries – head, right eye and left hand injuries,” the witness told Morning Star News, adding that Nabirye’s father is fearful of a possible attack since Muslims from a nearby village have sworn to do him harm.
Although Uganda’s constitution provides for religious freedom, including the right to proselytize, in practice Christian evangelization is very dangerous since converts often suffer retribution from their families and the Muslim community.
Although Uganda has a large Christian population, the eastern part of the country has a significant Muslim component and it is there where much of the persecution of Christians takes place, especially in the case of converts to Christianity. Christians in eastern Uganda are among those who face the most serious dangers in the world, according to World Watch Monitor, a group that tracks the global persecution of Christians.
During the 1970s, Ugandan dictator Idi Amin made Uganda a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries and begin to Islamize the nation; many of Amin’s policies continue to influence the country today.
Some Arab nations have invested substantial sums into furthering Muslim interests within Uganda and the influence of radical Islam has reportedly grown by more than 7 percent in the last three years.
Uganda’s parliament, for instance, recently passed Sharia banking, which gives zero-interest loans to Islamic projects.
The Christian persecution watchdog group Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) has designated Uganda as a “hostile area” for Christians, a term describing a situation where governments may attempt to provide protection for the Christian population but Christians are still routinely persecuted by family, friends, neighbors, or political groups.