Originally published in Morning Star News
Beaten, disowned and homeless
Asuman Kaire is missing his last year in high school in eastern Uganda for having become a Christian two years ago.
Homeless and without money to pay school fees since his Muslim stepfather disowned him earlier this year in Lelya-A village, Kabweri County in Kibuku District, the 20-year-old Kaire said he wouldn’t be able to finish high school even if he had the money.
“I fear my classmates who are Muslims, as they might plan something bad for my life,” Kaire told Morning Star News.
He spoke from experience. Having been informed that Kaire was living at a village church building, local Muslims with sticks and Somali swords attacked on June 15, demanding his death as they tried to enter the church compound shouting the jihadist slogan: “Allah Akbar [God is greater],” sources said.
Christians and Muslim neighbours in the predominantly Muslim area, with the help of a local official, managed to repel the assailants, sources said. Kaire sought shelter at the home of a Christian at an undisclosed location.
After putting his faith in Christ in 2017 and secretly meeting with an undisclosed church, Kaire’s life began to crumble this year when Muslim relatives began monitoring his movements after his mosque attendance dropped. In March a Muslim classmate told his stepfather he attended a church, sources said.
On April 7, his stepfather, Abdu Talisuna, waited for him along with seven other radical area Muslims on a roadside as Kaire made his way home from a church service. Talisuna alone beat him with a blunt object, leaving him unconscious, his clothes bloodied, his left leg broken and his right hand injured, sources said.
“The Muslim stepfather caught hold of him close to the church and started beating him at around 7 p.m.,” a church elder told Morning Star News. “He cried for help. Several members of the church were still around who rushed to the scene. When the Muslims saw the big number from the church, they ran away, leaving the young man unconscious.”
Kaire was rushed to a Kibuku hospital and discharged after a week, the church leader said.
He has not been able to go home since then.
“My stepfather beat me saying I am a disgrace to the family,” Kaire told Morning Star News by phone. “After recovering, I feared going back home because I knew they were going to kill me.”
Kaire needs a long-term place to stay and an opportunity to attend school elsewhere, area Christians said.
The attack is the latest of many cases of persecution of Christians in eastern 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% of Uganda’s population, but with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.