Forgiving for the Sake of Peace in Uganda
By Katie Lynn
06/10/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – On November 23, 2020, after hearing the Gospel preached in his homeland of eastern Uganda, Kareem Wafula gave his life to Christ. The husband and father of two had been a devout Muslim and, having grown up in Uganda, knew the risks of converting to Christianity in his country. Nonetheless, Kareem pursued the Lord.
When news of his conversion spread, the chairman of the mosque Kareem once attended approached him, threatening to persecute him if he didn’t convert back to Islam within three days. Kareem refused to deny his new faith, and narrated to International Christian Concern (ICC) what happened next: “He mobilized a group of Muslims and attacked me on November 27, 2020 at 11:45 pm. They set my 12 goats on fire that I had bought for my business, where I buy and sell animals. They also burned down my motorbike that I used to move around the villages to buy goats at a cheaper price. They came chanting that I had stolen one of the Sheikh’s goats. They did not find it in my herd.”
Though a victim of this brutal attack, Kareem was arrested on a charge of theft and detained at the police station overnight. The church raised $60 for bail in order to secure his release.
“We were shocked to hear that they were accusing Kareem of theft, but we knew they were reacting to his conversion from Islam to Christianity,” said Pastor Emmanuel Oduor, who helped to raise money for Kareem’s release. “He did not have money at the moment for he had bought several goats that were tied and burned before he could take them to the market for reselling.”
Kareem attended court hearings for months after the incident. The process was long and expensive, and Kareem struggled to feed his family with the additional burden of losing his goat business. But eventually, the perpetrators of the attack began to miss hearings. On three separate occasions when Kareem showed up to court, the men who had accused and attacked him failed to show up to defend their actions.
Speaking to ICC at this time in his trial, Kareem stated, “The magistrate said that if they do not show up the fourth time, he will dismiss the case, and if they show up, they will answer the court first for abdicating.”
Finally, on April 30, 2021, Kareem reached out to ICC and confirmed that his case was dismissed. Relieved, he said, “I am very happy and thankful to God for his faithfulness.”
Kareem was advised to pursue compensation for the ordeal he had faced, but due to the cost of a lawyer and fear of further attacks, he decided against it. Instead, he has chosen to forgive his accusers, and asked the Lord to help him start his life again.
“For the sake of peace, let me remain with the joy that the case has been dropped.” Kareem is now trying to restart his business and provide for his family’s future. All for the sake of Christ, Kareem lost much, but it was fully worth it to save his eternal soul.