Sheikh in Uganda Incites Muslim Villagers against Evangelist Released on Bail

Christian accused of kidnapping woman who left Islam.

Sheikh Ali Bunyolo discusses Christian evangelist with Kachomo village Muslims. (Morning Star News)

Sheikh Ali Bunyolo discusses Christian evangelist with Kachomo village Muslims. (Morning Star News)

NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Hours after an evangelist in Uganda accused of kidnapping was released on bail today, an Islamic leader urged village Muslims to kill him, an area source said.

Muslims in eastern Uganda’s Kachomo village, Budaka District gathered today to discuss how to stop Hassan Muwanguzi, a lay leader with the Church of Uganda well known in the region for his wide-ranging evangelism, a source who snuck into the gathering told Morning Star News.

“Sheikh Ali Bunyolo said that Hassan should die,” the source said. “He also said, ‘Hassan must be deleted in this world, and we should use this chance of the legal procedure and take him to court of law to be charged.’”

In an effort to defame Muwanguzi and stir up Islamist sentiment against him, Nghangha Mubakali on Sunday (Feb. 26) accused him of kidnapping and making a human sacrifice of his daughter, Muwanguzi earlier told Morning Star News. He said Namusisi Budadu Biryeri, 21, had taken refuge with him after her father beat her for putting her faith in Christ in 2015.

Police on Monday (Feb. 27) found her alive, and she told them she had sought refuge with Muwanguzi after her father kicked her out of their home on Nov. 12, 2015, for becoming a Christian that day.

Muwanguzi, a married father of six, has long housed converts from Islam in danger from hard-line Muslims.

Immediately after Muwanguzi’s release, the Local Council Three (LC3) chairman of Kabuna Sub-County held an emergency meeting to address tensions expected to rise in the area between Muslims and Christians. Sheikh Bunyolo made his pronouncements to the Muslim gathering in spite of the LC3 chairman’s admonition to the community to refrain from inciting violence.

Muwanguzi was expected to appear in court on Monday (March 6).

“I need an attorney to stand for me, but I do not have money to pay for hiring such a person,” he said. “The attorney requires 1.7 million Uganda shillings [US$470] in legal fees.”

A church leader in Kabuna said area Christians were heartened that Morning Star News brought Muwanguzi’s arrest on false charges to light.

“We, the church in Kabuna, appreciate Morning Star News for giving coverage of Muwanguzi’s arrest,” said a church leader, who requested anonymity.

Since Muwanguzi became a Christian in 2003, the former Islamic sheikh has suffered various forms of persecution, including losing a daughter to an Islamic extremist attack on Jun 16, 2014.

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.

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