Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Umar Mulinde Stands With Israel

November 16, 2012 5:21 pm 3 comments

Umar Mulinde. Photo: Dexter Van Zile.

Last week I attended a consultation held in Jerusalem about mainline churches in the United States and Europe and their attitudes toward Israel. The consultation, organized by the B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity in Israel (ETRFI), was attended by pastors, lay people, activists and writers who are alarmed about the failure of their churches to speak up on behalf of Israel as it contends with Islamist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah that seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

One of the people I met was an Evangelical pastor from Uganda by the name of Umar Mulinde. Umar is an odd name for a Christian pastor. “I was named after one of the great leaders of Islam,” he said.

This is no exaggeration. People who are familiar with Muslim history will recognize that he is named after the Muslim Caliph who established the Pact of Omar which required non-Muslims Jews and Christians to submit to second class-status under Muslim rule.

The Pact of Omar helped set the pattern for how non-Muslims are treated under in Muslim-majority countries today. It’s a hugely important document.

People who insist on advocating for their rights and equality engender great hostility from Islamists. This hostility contributes to ongoing violence against Israel in the 21st Century and violence against Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in what is now modern-day Turkey in the 20th Century.

This hostility helps explain why Israelis have been subject to repeated rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip for the past few days. The people who launch these attacks are trying to exercise a veto over Jewish sovereignty and freedom, and ultimately over the existence of the Jewish people altogether. What they are trying to do is to force non-Muslims into accepting the same status they endured under the Pact of Omar.

Back to Umar. At the age of 20, Umar, who had been prepared to be a Muslim cleric, converted from Islam to Christianity. His mother has converted to Christianity, but his brothers are a different story. He told me that some of his brothers – and he’s got more than 50 of them because his father was a prominent Imam with many wives – would be happy if he were killed. Apostacy from Islam, Mulinde reported, brings disgrace on the entire family that can only be expunged with the death of the convert.

Muslims in Uganda, who represent only 13 percent of the population, are agitating for Shariah law to be established in Uganda. Mulinde and his supporters worry that  such an action will result in the oppression of women and non-Muslims in Uganda, just as it has in Nigeria.

In his campaign to prevent the introduction of Sharia into Uganda, Pastor Umar helped organize a petition that received more than 36,000 signatures. Mulinde is also a potent supporter of Israel. He filled a stadium with 5,000 supporters of Israel a few years back.

These actions did not go unnoticed by the Islamists in Uganda. On Dec. 24, 2011, a group of radical Muslims threw acid on his face and back in an attempt to kill him. The attack left him alive, but horribly disfigured. Upon learning that he survived the attack, his attackers and their supporters sent letters to his church stating that they wish the attack had resulted in his death.

The acid attack was not the first attempt on Mulinde’s life that he’s miraculously survived. He’s been shot at and poisoned.

After the attack Umar and his wife and two youngest children – five-year-old twins – Joshua and Caleb – made their way to Jerusalem, where he has been undergoing treatment for the burns he had suffered in 2011. He’s been receiving treatment at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center located in Jerusalem for the past 10 months. He’s got more surgeries to go.

At one point during the conference, I interviewed him and the message he gave was a simple one. “When you defend Israel, you are defending your children.”

During our discussion, Umar made it perfectly clear that Israel is just one target of the Islamist attempt to spread Shariah law throughout the world.

The ideology that motivated the acid attack he endured on Christmas Eve in 2011 is the same used to justify suicide attacks against Israel during the Second Intifada and the rocket attacks that took place over the past few days. Christians in Uganda are starting to wake up to the fact that many in the West have failed to understand the threat presented by Islamic imperialism.

“What the West is denying they will realize when it has come upon them,” he said.

When I first saw Umar at the consultation in Jerusalem, I was horrified. He was wearing a bandage around his head that obscured everything but his ears and mouth, which were misshapen from the attack. There was a small hole that allowed him to speak through his mouth, which was also badly misshapen.

I didn’t want to talk to him. I didn’t want to shake his hand. I wanted to stay away from him because I didn’t want to even know what caused him to be disfigured. Was it leprosy? Was it contagious?

After I started listening to him speak, I realized that I was the one who had leprosy, spiritual leprosy. The nerve endings of my soul had become indifferent to the suffering of another human being, whom I wanted to wall myself off from.

Sadly, this leprosy of indifference and fear is still present in the world today. We can see it play itself out in the indifference toward Israel’s plight on the part of so many Americans, even as Israeli children hide from rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. It is this attitude that contributes to the abandonment of Christians who are the targets of religious cleansing in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria.

We need leaders like Umar who can summon us from the crypt of our own indifference and give us to acknowledge a frightening truth: The ideology of Muslim supremacism represents the greatest threat to human rights and world peace in the world today. The totalitarian and authoritarian impulse that manifested itself as Nazism in the 20th century has found another ideological vehicle in the 21st – Islamism.

Ongoing attacks against Israel and the suffering of Christians in Muslim-majority countries throughout the world serve as testimony to the impact of this ideology.

Children in Sderot live in fear tonight because of this ideology.

Children in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Iran, Pakistan and Syria live in fear because of this authoritarian ideology.

But instead of confronting this ideology, mainline Protestant churches, prominent Roman Catholic institutions, and a growing segment of the Evangelical community assiduously work to downplay its existence and the threat it poses.

To make matters worse, they promote an obsession with Israel as it defends itself from Islamist attacks. Islamists attacks are decimating Christian populations in the Middle East, and prominent church leaders condemn Israel.

“We betray ourselves if we don’t stand with Israel,” Mulinde warns.
Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.



  • Senabulya Bruce

    I personally know pastor Umar Mulinde what i can say is that
    his life is challenge to me ever since i met him, pastor Umar died to himself he really gave his life to Christ to use it and for the gospel.

    Lets stand in prayers for Israel. The enemy of Israel is our
    enemy as christians

  • This is a great article that actually exposes the truth. It’s hard to believe such media exists in today’s bias 1940 era repeat society.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →