A Ugandan pastor severely injured by Islamic opponents of his faith has made a stirring appeal for British Christians to help their persecuted brothers in other parts of the world.
Umar Mulinde, who was badly burned by an acid attack outside his church five years ago, was speaking to a congregation in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, during a brief tour of the UK following treatment by Israeli doctors.
His challenge coincides with reports of an assassination attempt in Nigeria on Baroness Caroline Cox by Fulani Islamic militants who have wreaked havoc among Christian communities in the area. Baroness Cox, a committed Christian, is a religious freedom campaigner and cross-bench member of the House of Lords.
Umar’s plea also comes amid ongoing reports of violence against Christians in his country despite the fact that Muslims are in a minority there. Even in the UK, former Muslims who have converted to Christianity are not safe, as indicated by the case of Nissar Hussain whose family had to be moved from their Bradford home under police protection following years of harassment.
Umar, now 40, suffered the “nightmare” of being “excommunicated” from his large Muslim family after deciding to follow Jesus. And having been taught to hate Jews, his heart melted when he understood from the Scriptures how much God loved them.
“I have survived a dozen attempts on my life through guns, bombs and poison. On Christmas Eve 2011, as I was coming out of church, I was followed by extremists who, just as I was about to enter the car, poured acid on my face. Any metal other than gold will immediately dissolve in such a concoction, so you can imagine what happened to my skin.”
A skin transplant and specialist hospital treatment only available in Israel has done much to repair his face, but it is clearly a serious handicap requiring constant dabbing of his injured mouth while speaking.
Recounting the attack, he said: “I screamed, ‘Jesus!’ But they shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great!) They were praising God while hurting me. What kind of God is that?
“But for you to see me standing here is a miracle. Jesus has spared my life.”
He then turned his focus to the suffering of Christians the world over and warned: “No country can say they are safe. It’s a matter of time. This is not prophecy; it’s a reality. Even in the UK you are sitting on a time-bomb.”
The persecution of Christians was a matter the Church in the West needed to address with the utmost urgency, he said, pointing out that, though the Ugandan constitution guarantees religious freedom and more than 80 per cent of the population is Christian, converts from Islam there are still persecuted.
“If one part of the body is hurting, the whole body suffers,” he said, quoting St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians on the subject of unity in the body of Christ. (1 Corinthians 12.26)
“I have buried people who have been strangled and poisoned just because of converting from Islam to Christianity.”
He suggested that it wasn’t ‘Islamophobia’ we should be concerned about, but ‘Christophobia’. Efforts by media and politicians to defend Islam as a “peaceful religion” were deceptive.
“Victims of persecution feel their Christian brothers have betrayed them,” he said, adding that he was in touch with friends in Aleppo, Syria, who had witnessed the beheading of dozens of believers. He had a video to prove it, but did not recommend watching it in view of its gruesome scenes.
Having expelled Jews from Arab lands, Islamic fundamentalists are now driving away Christians, he said. Whatever injustice is visited on Jews will sooner or later be visited on others, unless they do something to help. After the world was largely silent as violent attacks were committed on innocent bystanders in Jerusalem, bloodthirsty terrorists struck London, Paris, Brussels and Berlin as part of an ongoing attempt to bring the whole world under Islamic rule.
“Israel’s war is our war if you are a Christian. I’m not a preacher of hate. I love Muslims and pray for them every day, even those who attacked me with acid. In fact the first thing I did at the time was to ask God to forgive them!
“Like it or not, the invasion is on. The Muslim extremists are trying their best to use intimidation and violence in order to establish an Islamic world empire under Sharia Law. There are even some places in the UK where the British police can’t go.”
Quoting a number of Quran verses calling for violence against ‘infidels’ (non-believers), he said: “Every non-Muslim is a candidate for death,” adding: “If a church prays and does nothing, it will be defeated.”