A town in Wakiso District, Matugga-Mabanda, in central Uganda. (Wikipedia, Wulman83)
NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – The 8-year-old boy didn’t realize that telling his Muslim relatives how much he enjoyed a church choir would cause them to attack his family.
The seventh and youngest child of 54-year-old Lezia Nakayiza, widowed since September 2018, he didn’t know that his family was keeping their faith secret in Kasenge village, Wakiso District, in central Uganda near the capital city of Kampala.
“I could not share my faith with the brothers of my husband as well as the relatives who are radical Muslims,” Nakayiza told Morning Star News by phone. “In June my younger son told one of the relatives of the wonderful choir at church, and that we have been attending the church since March. This was the beginning of our persecution.”
Word began to spread that relatives of her late husband, Sheik Kiita Suleiman, were planning to punish her for leaving Islam.
“A Christian neighbor informed me that the family was planning to attack us,” Nakayiza said.
They struck on June 20.
“At around 8 p.m. by the light from moonlight, I peeped through the window and saw many people approaching our house with sticks and other weapons with loud noise from the animals’ shed,” she said, adding that she heard them shouting, “Away with this infidel!”
As they tried to break through the main door, Nakayiza and her children escaped out the back door, she said.
“We walked on foot for two hours and arrived at the church compound around 11 p.m., and we were received by the pastor,” she said.
Her pastor, unidentified for security reasons, told Morning Star News that he learned of the extent of destruction to Nakayiza’s home from one of her neighbors the following day.
“The brothers of the deceased husband of Nakayiza did huge destruction: five cows and six sheep killed, iron sheets pulled down, windows and doors destroyed,” the pastor said.
The family is now living at an undisclosed location that is not sustainable.
“The family has to be relocated to another place,” the pastor said. “Life for them is so hard. The children are out of school. They are very fearful of their lives. Even the church is at risk from the relatives who are radical Muslims. Our church is still too small to support the family.”
Nakayiza said she is offering to wash people’s clothes and work their gardens to try to earn enough for basic necessities. Her children are 33, 24, 18, 15, 13, 11 and 8.
“What we are going through at the moment is almost unbearable,” she said.
Nakayiza put her faith in Christ on Feb. 5; the church pastor had explained the gospel to her earlier in the year.
She said that on July 5 her oldest child, Lucia Nassanga, who is married to a Muslim man, also put her faith in Christ. When her husband, Ismail Mulinde, found out about her conversion last month, he drove Nassanga and their two children, ages 5 and 2, from their home, Nakayiza said.
In July another widow in central Uganda was forced to flee her home after receiving Islamist threats when area Muslims discovered she was a Christian. Such threats constitute the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.
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.
Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.