Luke 21:16-17, “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me.”
“A former member of an Islamic extremist group in Uganda who converted to Christianity after claiming to see visions of Jesus is hiding in Kenya, his movements severely restricted following threats to kill him.
Hassan Sharif Lubenga, 54, was a sheikh and said to be member of Buk Haram, a violent group of Islamists whose name suggests the Bible is corrupt and therefore forbidden (not to be confused with the more well-known Boko Haram extremist group). Originally from Chengera, seven kilometers from Kampala, the husband to four wives began his conversion process four years ago; in June 2011, he said, after various dreams and visions in which Jesus appeared to him, he made a full commitment to follow Christ.
Lubenga fled to Kenya last July 10 after hostilities peaked, and upon returning to Uganda in September he received messages on his cell phone from mujahidin – Islamic fighters – threatening to kill him, he said. He reported the threats to Chengera police, who told him they would investigate, but in October a friend told him that he’d heard in a Chengera mosque that his former colleagues were enraged and planning to kill him.
‘My heart got troubled, but the voice of Jesus continued whispering to me to witness for Jesus without fear,’ Lubenga said.
When Lubenga felt like giving up on his new faith, he said, he received a call from Bishop Umar Mulinde, his former pastor at Gospel Life Church International who was scarred in a Christmas Eve acid attack by Muslim extremists. Mulinde told him the church was praying for him, and Lubenga was deeply heartened, he said.
‘All my family members have deserted me,’ he said by telephone. ‘The Muslims are looking to kill me. I need protection and help.’
The Islamic extremists who had declared war on ‘infidels’ such as Lubenga had been threatening him since 2007, when he first began to speak of dreams and visions of Christ. Dangers peaked in 2010, when he was seen visiting a church in Uganda. By April 2010, one of his four wives had poisoned him because of his budding faith in Christ, leaving him unconscious, he said. After his recovery, he fled Chengera to a village 25 kilometers from Kampala, Kiwangala.
In 2007, he said, he told his jihadist friends that he had seen Jesus in a dream. He said they had warned him, ‘Do not make such a mistake again – we are ready to help you. If you continue with this move, then we will destroy you. You know that you are a sheikh.’”