By Michael Ireland
Islamic extremists threw acid on a church leader on Christmas Eve shortly after a seven-day revival at his church, leaving him with severe burns that have blinded one eye and threaten sight in the other.
Bishop Umar Mulinde, 37, a sheikh (Islamic teacher) before his conversion to Christianity, was attacked on Saturday night (Dec. 24) outside his Gospel Life Church International building in Namasuba, about 10 kilometers (six miles) outside of Kampala, according to Compass Direct News (CDN).
From his hospital bed in Kampala, the bishop told Compass that he was on his way back to the site for a party with the entire congregation and 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],’” Mulinde said, still visibly traumatized two days after the assault.
Mulinde’s face, neck and arms bore deep black scars from the acid, and his lips were swollen, CDN said.
A doctor told Compass that acid burns cover about 30 percent of his face and has cost him sight in one eye.
“We are doing all we can to save his other remaining eye and to contain the acid from spreading to other parts of the body,” the doctor said.
Mulinde said Muslim extremists opposed to his conversion from Islam and his outspoken opposition of sharia (Islamic law) courts in Uganda attacked him.
CDN also stated that on Oct. 15, area Muslim leaders declared a fatwa against him demanding his death. Mulinde is known for debates locally and internationally in which he often challenges Muslims regarding their religion.