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Ugandan Pastor Continues Treatment Following 2011 Acid Attack

August 14, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Pastor Mulinde, photographed recently as friends visited him in Israel.

Photo: Pastor Mulinde, photographed recently as friends visited him in Israel.

On December 29, 2011, Open Doors shared an urgent prayer need for Pastor Umar Mulinde who had survived a vicious acid attack. A year and a half after the traumatic incident Mulinde shares, “I have so far undergone 7 surgeries and have 3 more to go; the next surgery is scheduled for August 28. It seems like a never-ending battle for me, but I am glad that I have not let it put me down. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. Please keep praying for me.”

On December 24, 2011 just after a Christmas Eve service at the Gospel Life Church in Namasuba, Kampala, unknown attackers threw concentrated acid into the pastor’s face and back. Umar told an Open Doors (OD) worker that Pastor Mulinde was returning to the church for a party with his congregation, which included hundreds of new converts to Christianity, when a man who claimed to be a Christian approached him. “I heard him say in a loud voice, ‘Pastor, pastor,’ and as I made a turn and looked at him, he poured the liquid onto my face as others poured more liquid on my back and then fled away shouting, ‘Allahu akbar [God is greater].'”

Intense pain caused him to lose consciousness as the acid ate away at his flesh. He regained consciousness at the Kampala International Hospital to which he had been rushed. Doctors reported that the acid had not only badly damaged his skin and some facial bones, but also blinded one eye.

Umar was flown from Kampala to Israel for specialized treatment where he remains to date. Though the financial pressures of his situation are a constant concern for Umar, he is thankful for the help and support he has received from OD as well as other individuals and organizations.

Mulinde, who had been a sheikh (Islamic teacher) before his conversion to Christianity, said Muslim extremists opposed to his conversion from Islam, and his outspoken opposition of sharia (Islamic law) courts in Uganda, are responsible for the attack. Known locally and internationally for debates in which he often challenged Muslims regarding their religion, Mulinde had a fatwa declared against him demanding his death by area Muslim leaders.

In 2011, Mulinde revealed that his father, Id Wasswa, was a local prayer leader or imam. “I was born into a Muslim family. I have been receiving several threats for a long time, but this last one is the worst of all. I have borne the marks of Jesus.” Mulinde is married and has six children who, at the time of the attack, were 14, 12, 8, 6 and twins who were 3.

Mulinde is no stranger to violent opposition to his faith. When he converted from Islam to Christianity, his family drove him out with clubs and machetes. Since then, he has suffered numerous life-threatening attacks, including having stones thrown at him after debates. In 1995, he narrowly escaped death when he was attacked by men with clubs. Another attack occurred in 2000 in Masaka; after Muslims bribed the area district commissioner to declare Mulinde’s meetings illegal, Muslims stormed into a meeting and dragged him out, beating him until he lost consciousness. Though there have been other attacks as well, this 2011 attack has had a particularly devastating effect on his life. In the midst of the trauma, however, Mulinde shares that God has been present in significant ways.

“I am trusting God for a quick recovery,” Mulinde declared, “and for the provision in all the needs of my family and ministry. For sure I have gone through challenging, painful moments of my life, but I really thank you for quickly coming to my rescue at my very point of need. God bless you indeed.”

Father, we thank You for this servant of Yours and for Your sparing his life in the 2011 acid attack. Thank You for Your tender care over Him as he continues to undergo surgery and other treatment. We pray for healing sufficient to allow him to continue ministering to Your church. We pray Your continued provision for him and his family in their separation, and we pray especially for those who remain in Uganda that You would protect them and provide for their material and emotional needs. We also consider those whom he had been shepherding. Raise up new faithful leaders to shepherd Your flock in Kampala. In the continuing spiritual battle for the hearts and minds of Ugandans, we ask that You would pour out Your Spirit on believers as they share the love of Christ and the truth of Your Word. Aid the believers in Uganda in their struggle for religious freedom and a legal system that brings them out from under the control of Islam. In the name of Jesus who heals both body and soul, Amen.

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