A former Islamic sheikh in Uganda suffered torture from Muslims in the community after news got out that he had left the Islam faith to embrace Christianity.
Malik Higenyi from Bufuja village, Butaleja District secretly gave his life to Christ on April 16 along with his wife and two children. A pastor, whose identity was not disclosed for security reasons, reportedly came to his house and told him about Jesus. Since that time, the pastor visited him regularly and discipled him.
It was only last Nov. 13 that Higenyi openly confessed his faith in Jesus.
On the same day, Muslims in a mosque from a nearby village heard of his confession of faith in Christ. While Higenyi was on his way home, three men attacked him and beat him with a “blunt object” until he lost consciousness, Morning Star News reported.
He remembered waking up at the village health center.
“Before reaching my house, suddenly I was attacked by three people. They started shouting, saying I am a disgrace to the Muslim fraternity of Lubanga mosque,” Higenyi recounted.
“The attackers hit me with a blunt object, and I fell down and did not know what happened from there,” he said. “I just found myself at Bufuja health center.”
The attack left him with a broken bone in his right hand and a wound on his head.
Higenyi said he received messages threatening him that something would happen to him and his family if he would go back home. His Muslim neighbors considered him an “apostate” who should be killed.
“Be informed that you risk your life and that of the 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,” one message said.
The day after receiving the text messages, which was 10 days after he was attacked from the church, villagers came to destroy his maize crops.
On top of all these, Higenyi’s relatives have ostracized him.
Fearing the threats, Higenyi and his family left their home and did not come back.
They are now temporarily hiding in a secret location and are unable to come back to their home yet because of the threat to their lives. The Muslims reportedly met at the mosque to discuss Higenyi's punishment for turning his back on Islam.
“Please pray for Higenyi’s family at this difficult time, for they are emotionally troubled,” the pastor said.
More than 80 percent of the population in Uganda are Christian, and only about 12 percent belong to Sunni Muslim. However, reports of Christian persecution are not uncommon, and people know that Muslims who leave the faith for Christianity could be killed.
Impunity for Muslims who are guilty of attacking Christians is also evident, according to a 2015 report from the East Africa Centre for Law and Justice.