Uganda: Father murders son for refusing to forsake his faith in Jesus

A church bell hangs from a tree branch outside a Catholic church and a school in Odek village, Uganda.
A church bell hangs from a tree branch outside a Catholic church and a school in Odek village, Uganda. | REUTERS/JAMES AKENA

A 20-year-old man in Uganda who had converted from Islam to Christianity was tied up and murdered by his own father after he refused to forsake his faith in Jesus, according to a report.

The victim, identified as Tabiruka Tefiiro from Bupalama village in Kibuku district’s Buseta sub-county, was murdered by his Muslim father, Kasimu Kawona, on Sunday, Morning Star News reported.

Tefiiro had been living and working in Kampala since he put his faith in Christ in 2019. Amid pressure from family members to return to Islam, Tefiiro agreed to come back on Aug. 1 but continued to refuse to recant his faith in Christ.

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His father, who was away, returned on Saturday and called a family meeting to question Tefiiro about whether he had come back to Islam.

“I am mature enough to join any religion that I feel like because I am above 18 years old,” Tefiiro told his father. I want to confirm that I am saved by the grace of God. I can’t renounce my Christian faith now or in the future,” the victim added, according to his aunt. 

Kawona left home and returned on Sunday with a knife and hoe and struck Tefiiro, who managed to escape to a neighbor’s house.

“He followed Tefiiro and forcefully entered the house and forced him back to the homestead, where he tied him up and started beating him with the hoe,” the relative added. “He fell down unconscious. He then hanged him up.”

Kawona was not charged with murder but a lesser charge of manslaughter because he killed his son in anger for leaving Islam, sources told MSN.

Muslim neighbors and local leaders condemned the murder, however.

In June, 39-year-old Abudlawali Kijwalo from Kibuku District’s Nankodo area was attacked by his brother wielding a machete as punishment for putting his faith in Christ and listening to gospel music. Kijwalo survived but remained hospitalized for a long time.

While most people in Uganda are Christian, some eastern and central regions have higher concentrations of Muslims.

The Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project shows that about 11.5% of Uganda’s population is Muslim. Muslims in Uganda are primarily Sunni. Armed attacks and murders of converts are not uncommon in the region.

“Radical Islam’s influence has grown steadily, and many Christians within the majority-Muslim border regions are facing severe persecution, especially those who convert from Islam,” a Voice of the Martyrs factsheet explains.

“Despite the risks, evangelical churches in Uganda have responded by reaching out to their neighbors; many churches are training leaders how to share the Gospel with Muslims and care for those who are persecuted after they become Christians.”

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