A Friend in Need
Ugandan pastor, victim of Islamist attack, treated in Israel.
Jan 6, 2012
Umar Mulinde, a 38-year-old evangelical pastor from Uganda who recently began preaching support for Israel, has arrived at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center for emergency medical treatment following an acid attack that severely burned his face, torso, and damaged his right eye.
Pastor Mulinde, who converted to Christianity after spending much of his life as a Moslem, was attacked with acid on Christmas Eve in Kampala. The assailants shouted “Allah Akhbar” (God is great) immediately following the attack.
“I was attacked by a man who called out to me shouting ‘Pastor, Pastor,’ and I turned to see who he was,” said Mulinde. “Then he poured acid which burnt part of my face. As I turned away from the attacker, another man poured liquid on my back and ran away shouting ‘Allah Akhbar’ (God is great).”
After being initially hospitalized at International Hospital Kampala, Pastor Mulinde appealed to come to Israel for more advanced medical treatment. The pastor reached out to JerusalemOnlineU.com Executive Director Andrea Gottlieb of Philadelphia for help. Gottlieb made contact with Prof. Zeev Rotstein, director of Israel’s renowned Sheba Medical Center. Sheba serves patients from across the Middle East and Europe, and conducts humanitarian medical missions around the world, including ophthalmological care and burns treatment throughout Africa. Prof. Rotstein offered to provide acute and rehabilitative care to Mulinde, free-of-charge.
The pastor arrived in Israel, via India and then Jordan. Visas for Mulinde were arranged on short notice by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, thanks to the assistance of JerusalemOnlineU.com board member Ilan Sharon of Minneapolis.
Mulinde arrived at the Israeli hospital on January 5, 2012. Dr. Joseph Haik, chief of the Sheba Medical Center burns unit, and Prof. Joseph Moisseiev, head of the Sheba Eye Institute, examined the Pastor upon arrival, and are directing his treatment. “Pastor Mulinde will require a series of dermatological repair operations over a period of several weeks,” says the plastic surgeon and burns expert Dr. Haik. “Our eye specialists will operate on his right eye, as well, next week.”
“Healing is deeply ingrained in Jewish history and tradition. So it was only natural that we agree to help Pastor Mulinde,” said the hospital director Prof. Rotstein. “Our hospital is very active and experienced in treating patients from around the world, including from Arab countries that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. I trust that we can rehabilitate him and perhaps help him regain his eyesight.”
Pastor Mulinde, son of an Islamic Imam, was trained in Islamic theology before converting to Christianity while attending University. He is an outspoken critic of Islam, and has publicly debated many Moslems across Uganda. Mulinde’s wife is a prominent gospel singer.
Pastor Mulinde learned about Israel through JerusalemOnlineU.com’s course materials. He has since taught the courses at his Gospel Life Church International and to neighboring ministers, and organized a 5,000-person teach-in about Israel in a local stadium.
Andrea Gottlieb, Executive Director of JerusalemOnlineU.com, the organization that has supported Pastor Mulinde in his preaching about Israel, said, “Pastor Mulinde uses our courses to share his love for Israel with others. He is a devoted and loyal friend of Israel. We quickly responded to the pastor’s urgent needs, and are grateful that he is now receiving the best medical treatment in the world.”
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