Extremists out to kill Muslim leader and teacher who turned to Christ in Uganda

A man walks past stained glass windows inside the Gaddafi National mosque after Friday prayers in Uganda's capital Kampala in this Oct. 21, 2011 file photo. Although Uganda is largely Christian, Hassan Muwanguzi, who converted to Christianity from Islam, is being persecuted by Muslim extremists.Reuters

A former sheikh or tribal leader in eastern Uganda who has converted to Christianity and become an evangelist escaped death twice in the past two weeks as Muslim militants tried to kill him.

Hassan Muwanguzi, a preacher in Budaka district known throughout the region for his Christian activities after he shifted from being an Islamic teacher, is a target of hard-line Muslims who loathed his conversion and ministry success.

Muwanguzi was nearly ambushed by Muslim militants who later raided his house, the Morning Star News wrote.

"I have been battling with the challenges of Muslim threats. They have planned to kill me, but I thank God for his protection," said Muwanguzi. "I do request for the prayers of brothers and sisters as my family is living in great fear."

Muwanguzi said he received a phone call in late June from a stranger who told the evangelist that he had been given a message to deliver.

"He wanted to meet me alone early in the morning at an isolated place," Muwanguzi said. "I suspected [a trap], so I requested to be accompanied by two village elders from Kabuna."

On June 29, he met with the stranger who looked very nervous.

"Straight away we took him to the local county representative, where, after a lengthy interrogation, he confessed that he had been hired to kill me, with a gang in hiding planning to ambush me," Muwanguzi said. "The man was not willing to name his accomplices."

Three days later, intruders armed with knives and clubs broke into Muwanguzi's house at night and stole personal belongings. According to his neighbours, the group was out to kill him but fortunately, he and his family were away at that time attending a prayer meeting.

"The attackers shouted, saying that they wanted the head of Hassan because Hassan had become an enemy of Islam," said a neighbour. "

Muwanguzi said: "I think these radical Muslims were out to finish me and my entire family. I suspect the raiders are part of the radical Muslims here in Budaka and Pallisa who are claiming that I should be killed because I left Islam and joined Christianity."

Last year, Muslim extremists tried to poison Muwanguzi and his 12-year-old daughter, but they survived.