10/31/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Hassan Muwanguzi is a former imam who converted to Christianity in 2003 after attending an interfaith debate. At the event, he was convicted of his sins and placed his trust in Christ. Prior to his conversion, he was involved in public debates, after studying Islamic Law (Sharia) at the Islamic University in Uganda.
“During my time as a seasoned Islamic teacher and debater, I won many Christians to Islam and got countrywide recognition because of my wit,” said Hassan. “But I am not proud about that. I am a changed man and I love Christ and the work of encouraging converts from Islam that he has called me to do.”
International Christian Concern (ICC) visited Hassan at his small office in Kabuna village, Budaka District, where he runs a shelter for Muslim-background believers.
“My family and relatives set my house on fire after learning that I had received Jesus Christ. Family and community intimidation forced me to seek refuge with my wife and child at a mission center for four years. After that, we settled in Parisa, where I began evangelism and ministry to converts from Islam. I started receiving death threats again, and after only three years, I have survived five attempts of assassination and three attempts of food poisoning,” recounted Hassan.
In 2012, Hassan began a rescue center to support Christian converts. He shared, “My vision of becoming an encouragement to the persecuted Christians in eastern Uganda started sprouting in 2012 when I began receiving numerous cases of converts who were rejected, disowned, and tortured. My personal testimony of how I left Islam continued to draw many to Christ. After praying earnestly, God directed me to a school in Kibuku district.”
Unfortunately, Hassan’s school collapsed shortly after. He said, “The Muslim community falsely accused me of defilement. I was arrested and remanded at Kamuge Prison for four months. The volunteer teachers and students scattered, leading to the closure of the school.”
“After only three years, I have survived five attempts of assassination and three attempts of food poisoning.”
Hassan continued. “Due to lack of evidence, I was released from jail and asked to go home. I was taken back to square number one. In 2014, I started another school in Katira, a Muslim-dominated area. The enrollment grew from 14 to 70 in a span of eight months. Again, local Muslims ganged against me, this time wanting to poison all of us in the school. Police arrested a lady whom we suspected was sent to put poison in the kitchen.”
Food poisoning is one of the tactics that radical Muslims often use to kill Christians in Uganda. Due to the strong influence of Muslims in the judicial system of Uganda, Hassan was forced to withdraw his case or risk being killed.
He recalled, “The arrest of this woman led to escalated persecution again, forcing us to move from Katira to Kabuna in 2015. This is where we are now. The community in Kabuna has been very receptive and supportive.”
Regardless of the continued threats from hardline Muslims who resent Hassan’s conversion and ministry, he is confident that the Lord’s plans will prevail. “We are doing a risky ministry that puts our lives in danger all the time. If anyone says there is no persecution in Uganda, let them come to the ground. During this time when Islamic radicalization is on the increase, we commit to continue preaching the Good News and helping believers that leave Islam.”
Hassan concluded, “We ask for prayers and support for the families in the form of food, clothing, bedding, chairs, and funds to enable converts to start small businesses.”