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.

3 Comments

  • RELIGION IN GENERAL NEVER SOLVED PROBLEMS,
    IT MAINLY CREATES BIG PROBLEMS.
    WE HAVE ABOUT 3000( THREE THOUSAND)DIFFERENT TASTES
    OF CHRISTIANITY.
    THIS SHOULD TELL YOU ENOUGH ABOUT INTER RELIGIOUS
    RELATIONS IN GENERAL.
    IT IS A RED HERRING…

  • 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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.