11/08/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Growing up in western Uganda, Bwambare and Mumbere, two Ugandan boys never imagined a day when they would be separated from their parents. However, trouble began in November 2016 when their father, Abdul Hamza, converted to Christianity after an evangelist shared the Good News with him.
“I visited the family of Abdul Hamza during my usual village visitations and, after sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, Hamza was convicted of his sins and asked if we could lead him in prayer to receive Christ,” said the evangelist, Rev. Canon Kainja. “His wife was against the idea and she threatened him that leaving Islam would attract grievous measures from their family.”
Rev. Kainja continued, “The young boys had no idea of what was going on and they were outside playing with other children. So I prayed for their father and later on prayed with the boys. Hamza’s wife declined to pray with us.”
While the vast majority of people are Christians in western Uganda, Islam has been increasing dramatically after Muslim traders entered through East Africa in the early 19th century. Conversions to Islam were made communally, thus making it risky for individuals to decide to follow Christ.
Rev. Kainja dedicated his time to guiding Hamza on the new path of living for Christ. He shared, “Abdul Hamza was showing the great joy of being a Christian and his spiritual growth was impressive. He began accompanying me during my evangelistic visitations and many were amazed at his testimony. His wife started complaining how Hamza’s lifestyle is affecting the family ties and if he could reconsider coming back to Islam. He would not listen to any of that. He had become a committed follower of Christ.”
As the days went by, Abdul Hamza gained more knowledge about Christianity and how to reach out to Muslims. Strangely, some of his Muslim friends remained close to him and he thought that was an opportunity to gradually draw them to Christ. Sadly, this would not be the case.
“His wife started complaining how Hamza’s lifestyle is affecting the family ties and if he could reconsider coming back to Islam. He would not listen to any of that. He had become a committed follower of Christ.”
“One evening, Abdul Hamza and his friends went out to the local market to have some tea and snacks,” Rev. Kainja said. “Not suspecting anything, he sipped his tea, amidst catching up [on] the days’ occurrences. He immediately complained of pain in the stomach followed by vomiting. I was informed about his sudden sickness and asked my fellow pastor, Rev. John Murabyo, to help me take Hamza to the hospital. He succumbed to the stomach pain and vomiting, which the doctor later confirmed was food poisoning.”
International Christian Concern (ICC) had the opportunity of speaking with Abdul Hamza’s father, Mr. Ibrahim Masereka, who is a staunch Sunni Muslim. He said, “Everybody in the family was shocked by the conversion of Hamza and we were left with no option other than letting him leave and settle elsewhere because we could not bear the shame. I was pained a lot, but tolerant. Thoughts of killing him never crossed my mind. His wife was so upset, even contemplating a divorce. Later on, Hamza was poisoned and died at the hospital.”
Abdul Hamza joined many Christians who have been killed by poisoning in Uganda.
“His wife did not mourn him,” Rev. Kainja said. “A day after laying to rest Hamza, she left the matrimonial home and their two young boys and got married off to Abdul’s friend, who is suspected of poisoning him.”
The two boys are now living with Rev. Canon Kainja in Kisinga, Kasese district.