A former sheikh (Islamic teacher) in eastern Uganda was poisoned on Saturday, shortly after his wife learned he had converted to Christianity, he said.Hiire Sadiki, 56, of Masjidi Uthuman at Nawanjofu village, Butaleja District, said from his hospital bed that he put his faith in Christ on March 27 after several months of discussions with a Christian pastor.
After he declined to observe the Islamic rituals of Ramadan, his wife noticed him praying in the name of Christ, he said.
“She realized that I had converted to Christianity,” Sadiki said. “She questioned me because of the mode of my praying. I told her that I had believed in Issa [Jesus].”
His pastor told Morning Star News that Sadiki suffered convulsions and vomiting after eating. The former sheikh phoned him, and the pastor went to Sadiki’s house and took him to a hospital.
“As we arrived at the hospital, his conditioned worsened,” the pastor said. “He started having diarrhea with blood, nausea, vomiting and severe abdominal pain.”
Initially Sadiki was diagnosed with food poisoning, and doctors began treating him for ptomaine poisoning. His wife and three children, however, were not affected by the same food, and Sadiki did not respond to medications as his conditions grew worse, the pastor said. Further tests indicated his food was tainted with a toxic substance related to organophosphate insecticides used to kill rats, he said.
“He had lost some amount of blood,” the pastor said. “I then rang his wife. As I began asking about the sheikh and introducing myself, she was so annoyed and started abusing me for converting her husband. She said she did not want to be identified with him because he had become an infidel, and that she was leaving him and going back to her people, that her husband deserved death for forsaking Islam, and that she didn’t want to relate with an infidel.”
She then hung up the phone, he said.
The pastor also phoned Sadiki’s sister-in-law, who told him she was also very bitter, that the family had incurred a great loss from the sheikh leaving Islam and leadership of the mosque, and that they wanted nothing to do with him.
“I have given a caution to nurses and doctors not to allow any person to see the patient without his consent, because I felt that they might come and further harm him,” the pastor said.
Sadiki’s wife has left with their three children, ages 16, 10 and 6, he said.
The assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in 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 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country