The wife of a Ugandan Christian poisoned by Muslims for his faith has married her late husband's suspected killer, leaving behind two young sons.
Persecution watchdog ICC reports that in November 2016, Abdul Hamza converted to Christianity after an evangelist shared the Gospel with him.
"I visited the family of Abdul Hamza during my usual village visitations and, after sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, Hamza was convicted of his sins and asked if we could lead him in prayer to receive Christ," said the evangelist, Rev. Canon Kainja. "His wife was against the idea and she threatened him that leaving Islam would attract grievous measures from their family."
Rev. Kainja continued, "The young boys had no idea of what was going on and they were outside playing with other children. So I prayed for their father and later on prayed with the boys. Hamza's wife declined to pray with us."
After embracing Christianity, Hamza began to join the pastor on his evangelistic events, sharing the gospel with Muslims in Uganda.
"Abdul Hamza was showing the great joy of being a Christian and his spiritual growth was impressive. He began accompanying me during my evangelistic visitations and many were amazed at his testimony. His wife started complaining how Hamza's lifestyle is affecting the family ties and if he could reconsider coming back to Islam. He would not listen to any of that. He had become a committed follower of Christ."
As the days went by, Abdul Hamza gained more knowledge about Christianity and how to reach out to Muslims. However, angered by his newfound faith, his former friends began plotting to kill him.
"One evening, Abdul Hamza and his friends went out to the local market to have some tea and snacks," Rev. Kainja said. "Not suspecting anything, he sipped his tea, amidst catching up [on] the days' occurrences. He immediately complained of pain in the stomach followed by vomiting. I was informed about his sudden sickness and asked my fellow pastor, Rev. John Murabyo, to help me take Hamza to the hospital. He succumbed to the stomach pain and vomiting, which the doctor later confirmed was food poisoning."
Hamza's wife "did not mourn him," Rev. Kainja said, revealing that one day after his funeral, she left the matrimonial home and their two young boys and married his friend, who is suspected of poisoning him. The two boys are now living with Rev. Canon Kainja in Kisinga, Kasese district.
Persecution watchdog Open Doors USA notes that while the vast majority of people are Christians in western Uganda, Christians from Muslim backgrounds face extreme persecution and may be disowned by their parents, divorced by their spouse, harassed by their communities, forced to leave their homes, attacked or even killed. Muslim background believers often keep their faith a secret to avoid such treatment.
Last year, a Christian widow in Uganda was poisoned by her Muslim neighbors on Christmas Day. Also in eastern Uganda, a former Muslim sheikh (Islamic teacher) who was beaten unconscious on for his faith in Christ, Mulangira Ibrahim, was nearly suffocated to death.