After a devout Muslim sheikh in Uganda converted from Islam to Christianity, local Muslims tortured him, threatened to kill his family, and destroyed his property.
According to the persecution watchdog Morning Star News, Malik Higenyi, 30, of Bufuja village, Butaleja District in the eastern part of the African nation, along with his wife and two children, secretly converted from Islam to Christianity last April. Last month, he made an open confession of faith at his church last month, angering Muslims from a mosque in nearby Lubanga village.
Shortly after he announced his conversion, he received an anonymous text reading, "Be informed that you risk your life and that of [your] entire family if you happen to come back to your house. We curse you and your family. You are an apostate according to Islamic law, and you deserve to die."
Two weeks ago, while traveling home, Higenyi was attacked by three people, who shouted that he is "a disgrace to the Muslim fraternity of Lubanga mosque." Following the violent attack, the Christian teacher sustained injuries on his head and his right hand.
"The attackers hit me with a blunt object, and I fell down and did not know what happened from there," he recalled. "I just found myself at Bufuja health center."
Local Muslims also destroyed Higenyi's maize crops. Since then, his relatives ostracized him, and fearing more attacks, he and his family have been unable to return to their thatched-roof home. Currently, the family remains hidden in an undisclosed location.
"Please pray for Higenyi's family at this difficult time, for they are emotionally troubled," a local pastor told Morning Star News.
About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. While the country's constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, Christians in eastern Uganda suffer continual attacks by non-government figures and Muslim extremist groups like Al-shabab. Numerous reports have also emerged of Christian converts being killed and others excommunicated by their loved ones.
In August, eight children from a village in the country were beaten by their Muslim families and cast away as "infidels" after giving their lives to Jesus Christ. The pastor who led them to Christ is also now facing death threats.
In June, it was reported that a Muslim father in the Kamuli District tied his 9-year-old son to a tree and set it ablaze because he had converted to Christianity and refused to fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
In March of this year, a Muslim father and uncle in the village of Katende beat their family member with a stick and torched his home because he embraced Christianity.