By Male Marvin
A pastor and five evangelists were arrested and detained at Sironko district police headquarters for preaching in Eastern Uganda following complaints from Muslims who told officials the preachers were using the Quran to undermine the prophet Mohammed and people of the Islamic faith.
“The Muslims came in the company of their Sheikhs and disrupted our open-air market preaching as the police watched. We were then arrested and taken to Sironko district police headquarters for questioning,” Pastor Tom Palapande who led the team of five evangelists told International Christian Concern (ICC).
The arrest happened on Saturday, 24th November, 2018.
“We were charged with causing public disturbance and inciting violence, offenses [to which] we responded not guilty. The police locked us up from Saturday to Monday so as to investigate the matter,” Pastor Tom Palapande explained, following his release.
He added, “We were not causing any violence. We are evangelists known across eastern Uganda for…answering questions on Islam and Christianity. When the Sheikhs fail to answer questions, they usually turn their disappointment to us because we know how to handle the Quran and the Bible. We also hold public debates with them and they hate us because, through our ministry, many Muslims have converted to Christianity.”
On Sunday, members of Pastor Tom’s church were praying for him and the other evangelists. “We missed church service for the first time this year. The church was praying for us, and on Monday we were released, but with conditions: not to hold and discuss the Quran,” Pastor Tom continued.
The arrest and resulting detention have not discouraged Pastor Tom from preaching the Gospel. Pastor Tom stated, “We keep doing this because it is a command from our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul and Silas risked their lives for the name of Jesus; so do we. The danger will not keep us quiet because how shall they hear unless someone preaches to them?”
This past June, Pastor Tom was attacked in a stoning while preaching in Kuwait, where the population is approximately 95% Muslim. As a result, he sustained an injury to his forehead. “The injury almost blinded me, but [I was saved] thanks to my small local church that contributed some little money for me to seek treatment,” the pastor remarked.
Pastor Tom concluded, “The biggest challenge is having evangelical churches and pastors partnering with us. Many pastors watch from a distance due to the threat of being killed or their churches burnt.”
Nathan Johnson, ICC’s Regional Manager, said, “These kind of attacks on Christians in East Africa are becoming increasingly common. The Ugandan government must ensure that these men have the right to spread their message to anyone. The government must ensure that the rights of Christians are protected equally.”
For more information, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator, ICC: email@example.com