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Pastor Attacked After Invitation to Christian-Muslim Debate

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NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – A pastor invited to participate in a religion debate by mosque leaders in Uganda was attacked after his arguments ostensibly led to 37 Muslims accepting Christ, sources said.

Muslims who apparently converted to Christianity were among those who assaulted Pastor Arthur Asadi Babi, 42, on Feb. 10, he said. He was hospitalized for eight days in Mbale city’s Nakaloke ward with injuries to soft tissue in his neck, a broken leg, a bone fracture in his hand and swelling of his private parts, said Bishop Michael Okia of the area’s Living Stream Church of Christ.

“We received an invitation letter from the sheikh of Nakaloke mosque, who organized the debate in Nakaloke ward in Mbale city,” Okia told Morning Star News. “I decided to send Pastor Babi to debate with the Muslims because of his scholarship skills in the Koran and the Bible.”

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Pastor Babi and a team of Christians began participating in the second week of the two-week debate, on Feb. 9, and on the second day he presented a defense of Christianity using the Koran with responses from the Bible on the uniqueness of Christ as the Son of God and the only way to God the Father, the bishop said.

“On Feb. 10, at the end of his defense, the pastor made an appeal for a response from the audience to believe in Christ,” Okia said. “Surprisingly, 29 adults and 8 children gave their lives to Christ Jesus, all Muslims.”

Pastor Babi said he was attacked immediately after apparently leading the Muslims to Christ.

“From nowhere, Muslims started throwing stones, and then with sticks and clubs attacked me by beating me, including the new Muslim converts who had embraced the Christian faith,” Pastor Babi told Morning Star News. “I was hit on my right hand and left leg while some tried to strangle me. One Muslim kicked me and injured my private parts, which is still in pain to date.”

A church member, Ben Yasiini, was able to rescue him and also suffered minor injuries, a tearful Pastor Babi said, adding that he was able to identify two of the assailants.

The pastor received treatment at Grace Medical Center in Mbale and was discharged on Feb.18.

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Converting from Islam seven years ago, Pastor Babi is a married father of six children, ages 3 to 17.

As his church is only four kilometers from the mosque, Okia said leaders are still assessing whether to file a police report.

The assault was the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country. 

This article originally appeared here.