Morning Star News, November 16, 2017
Students at a Christian elementary school in eastern Uganda fear for their lives after a Muslim posing as a Christian teacher attacked the school director, sources said.
Some of the children at Hope of Glory International Nursery and Primary School have been afraid to return to class after Mugooda Siraji attacked school director Hassan Muwanguzi on Nov. 4, according to head teacher Eric Kakonge. The school is located in Kabuna village, Budaka District.
Siraji struck the school director days after school board leaders asked him to take a leave of absence when they learned he had misrepresented himself and was trying to teach the children how to practice Islam, Kakonge said.
“Siraji came to our class and openly said he was a Muslim, and that his real name was Mugooda Siraji and not Simon Siraji,” a fourth-grade child told a school official, according to Kakonge. “He has been introducing to us Islamic ablution and how to be a true Muslim by believing in Allah and Muhammad.”
Members of the school board questioned Siraji on Nov. 1.
“We as the board learned that you did not provide to us the right profile of yourself, and that you have been propagating Islamic religion, which is against the school principles, which are based on Christian foundations,” a board leader told him. “Therefore, the school administration recommends that you step aside as we carry on further investigations.”
Siraji reluctantly accepted, and then he left the school as the administration began further investigations, Kakonge said.
On Nov. 4 at around 4:30 p.m., Siraji entered the school compound and strode to Kakonge’s office, where Muwanguzi, the school director, was meeting with him. Siraji forced his way into the office shouting “Allah Akbar” and hit Muwanguzi with a blunt object, Kakonge said.
“Muwanguzi suffered face and right hand injuries, with serious bleeding from the face,” Kakonge said.
Teachers managed to overpower Siraji, but he managed to escape, sources said. The school alerted Budaka police station officers, and criminal investigators soon arrived.
Police questioned Muwanguzi at the police station, opened a case against Siraji alleging threats and violence (File Reference No. SD/4/11/2017) and later took the school director to a Budaka health center, Kakonge said. Muwanguzi received hospital treatment for two days and was discharged, he said.
“He is still unwell and may need further specialized treatment,” Kakonge said.
Siraji was unavailable for comment.
The head teacher told Morning Star News that on Oct. 12, Muslims in Kabuna Sub-County, Budaka District, had met to form a strategy of how to stop activities on the Christian school and terminate it. The school has an enrollment of 162 children.
“The Muslims have complained that the school every evening makes noise in praising, worshiping and praying,” Kakonge said. “We need prayers at this trying moment for quick recovery for our school director, and that this criminal act will be brought to book.”
Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with many concentrated in the eastern part of the country.
The incident is one of many recent attacks by non-state figures on Christians in eastern Uganda. 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.