Located in East Central Africa, Uganda has a population of 42 million people of which 85% are Christian and only 14% (5.88 million) are Muslim. Most of the Muslims live in the Eastern side of Uganda.
Yet according to an article in the Washington Times, Muslim extremists have declared open war on Christians if they preach one of the fundamental beliefs of the Christian Faith, that Jesus is the Son of God.
When Jesus said “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), the pharisees knew exactly what Christ was saying:
33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” (John 10:33 NASV)
The Pharisees were offended by Christ’s claims.
Now two thousand years later, the same things seems to be happening today. We first need to understand that the Muslims believe in Jesus. In fact, there is considerably more written about Christ in the Koran than even Muhammad.
The Koran calls Jesus a prophet (Surah 2:136), a healer and miracle worker and the Koran records several miracles that Jesus performed (Surah 3:49), but in contrast does not record a single miracle that Muhammad did.
While Muhammad died, according to the Koran Jesus didn’t and was taken to heaven while alive (Surah 4:157-158).
Where the Koran differs with the Bible on Jesus is in two key areas. While the Koran believes Jesus was born from a virgin (Surah 19:19-21), it does not believe Jesus is the son of God because this would imply that God had sex with Mary.
Secondly, the Koran does not believe Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world and that the Christians were deceived into believing He did.
But it is the claim Jesus is the Son of God that is becoming a major offense to Islamic extremists in Uganda who are calling any public declarations that Jesus is God as an offense and insult to Islam, even it is done during a church service.
And if Christians do this, Islamic extremists believe they can “exact revenge” on Christians.
According to the Times article, this exactly what happened in June when Muslim extremists attacked a Christian crusade being held in Eastern Uganda. Moses Saku, a Christian pastor, reported that people attending the crusade were violently attacked by the extremists with many being injured by the rocks thrown at them after public declarations at the crusade that Jesus is the Son of God.
There was no outward criticism of Islam at the crusade, only a declaration of Biblical beliefs, yet this is now enough to justify attacks.
Ugandan Muslims have tolerated other religion for decades, but that has changed with the arrival of the Alliance of Democratic Forces (ADF) that is calling for a more extreme form of Islam that includes setting up Sharia law in Uganda. Those working with the ADF are responsible for the recent attacks.
When Christians appealed to the Muslim extremists to respect other religions, the Times reported:
“One Muslim, Abubakar Yusuf, declared: ‘We have not declared a jihad against them. We are not going to allow anybody to despise Islamic teachings at their church or crusade. We will seek revenge.'”
Though this seems to be the only region where this belief is held, there are concerns that it could spread to other Islamic extremist elements.
For the past several years, the Pakistani government and other Muslim countries have been pushing for the passing of a law at the UN entitled the “International Convention on Preventing the Defamation of Religion.” Though it sounds magnanimous it would essentially make it illegal to criticize or offend Islam.
So far their efforts have been unsuccessful. However, with some Islamic extremists now declaring other religious beliefs offensive, the passing of such a law would be a terrifying proposition in countries where Christians are in the minority.