9-year-old boy burned by Muslim father after he converted to Christianity, declared Jesus Christ his savior

A Muslim father in Eastern Uganda burned his 9-year-old son as punishment after abandoning Islam for Christ.

Catholic faithful pray in front of a cross of Jesus Christ erected by a roadside in Kakoge, north of Uganda's capital Kampala, October 18, 2015. Pope Francis makes his first pontifical visit later this month to Africa, where Catholicism has grown rapidly over the last few years. | REUTERS/JAMES AKENA

Nassif Malagara of Kisozi Sub-County, Kamuli District said his 36-year-old father, Abubakar Malagara, and 35-year-old stepmother, Madina Namwaje, forbade him to eat anything even beyond the fasting time of Ramadan after his refusal to join Islamic activities following his conversion. So he went to their neighbor's house for food on the third day and brought back stock for himself to last him for a few days.

On June 9, Nassif's father caught him eating.

"He started beating me up with sticks, but I managed to escape to a nearby bush," Nassif told Morning Star News. "My father then followed me and got hold of me back to the homestead, where he tied me up to a banana tree. He went into the house and came back with a hot piece of wood. The banana tree had dry leaves, which caught fire and caused serious burns on my body."

Neighbors who heard the boy's cries for help rescued him and took him to a hospital where he's reportedly recovering at "a very slow pace" and may need to be moved to another hospital for further treatment.

According to the publication, an unnamed relative is willing to take Nassif under her wing as soon as he's released from the hospital. Officers from the Kisozi Police Post charged and arrested Nassif's father but released him from jail after posting bail.

A neighbor who spoke in anonymity claimed to have received a death threat through a text message. It was also him who introduced Nassif to the Christian church. He suspects Nassif's father to be behind the anonymous text.

"We know that you are behind the conversion of Nassif to Christianity," read the text. "You will soon reap what you have sown, which will be a lesson to others. Islam is against such conversion."

The unnamed church pastor claimed it was Nassif himself who insisted to receive Christ as "his personal savior."

"I was a bit hesitant, but after his continuous press, I then prayed with him, and he left," the pastor said.

According to The Monitor, the 2014 National Population and Housing Consensus revealed that Islam increased in Uganda to 13.7 percent in 2014 from 12.4 percent in 2002, while Catholicism dropped to 39.3 percent from 41.6 percent and Anglicanism also dropped to 32 percent from 36.7 percent.