The headteacher of an Islamic private school in Uganda was punished after he converted to Chrisitanity.
Yusufu Mwanje was the headmaster of the Ibunbaz Primary School in Bugiri town, Bugiri District in eastern Uganda until he was fired from his job for converting to Christianity. On April 2, he was attacked and suffered third-degree burns after school staff members heard him praying Christian prayers.
According to the Christian Headlines, Mwanje reported that a Christian businessman who provided equipment to the school used to pray at his office in the presence of other Muslim staff members.
The headmaster said it was a welcome presence following the COVID pandemic in 2020 as the Christian businessman's prayers helped open Mwanje's heart to Jesus Christ. The Islamic school headteacher and the supplier had more discussions about Christianity until Mwanje decided to put his faith in Christ earlier this year.
"I wanted to keep my faith in Christ secret and began missing Friday prayers as I attended evening prayers at the church," Mwanje reported to the Morning Star News. "Some Muslim teachers noticed my absence and reported to the school management board."
On March 27, a school board meeting was held, during which the group questioned Mwanje's absence from regular mosque prayers. When he told them that he was praying from his house, "They accepted, but very reluctantly."
On April 1, Mwanje reported waking up at 3 a.m. to pray in Christ's name as he had learned from his Christian supplier, whose name he did not disclose for security reasons. Mwanje said he was unaware that "there was someone hearing as well as recording the prayers," referring to a school staff member who lived next to him.
"I prayed till 4:30 a.m. and then prepared to go to the mosque, because I wanted to protect my job," Mwanje recounted. He added that when he woke up early the following day to pray once more, the private Islamic school staff member had gathered other school teachers to eavesdrop on the headteacher.
Mwanje recounted how as he finished his Chrisitan prayers at 4:45 a.m. and prepared to head to the mosque to pray, someone knocked on his door. Upon opening it, the school staff started harrassing him and saying "Allah akbar!" which meant the jihadist slogan of "God is greater!"
They also declared, "This is kafir!" which meant infidel, and grabbed Mwanje and took him inside the mosque where he was beaten and accused of leading a Muslim school despite having converted to Christianity. Others allegedly shouted at him, saying, "A liar, a liar, a liar...He deserves the death penalty."
Mwanje recalled how his Christian supplier told him that during times of persecution, to call out Jesus' name. He did, but it provoked another attacker to call out "Azab Azab" or "punishment" in Arabic. The headteacher said, "Immediately, two Islamic teachers named Ustaz Hamudan and Hashim Sajabbi brought two old jerry cans and lit it with fire and started burning me with it. It was too painful. I fainted."
Later, an elderly Islamic teacher named Alhaji Bruhan intervened and told the persecutors not to kill Mwanje because Allah would kill him. Mwanje said, "He instructed some to take me to the school clinic for treatment. I then realized that Jesus had come to save me."
At the school clinic, Mwanje was given a painkiller. After school officials called a meeting, they fired him from his position as headteacher. He shared that he had left "empty-handed" as he didn't remove any of his properties in the school.
Mwanje called his Christian supplier, who took him to a church site, where he was treated for five days before going to the Iganga Hospital. He continued to receive treatment for his third-degree burns on his leg and second-degree burns on his back.