Guest / Limited Access /

Murderous rioting reportedly sparked by Muslim attacks on Christians and their property in late November destroyed 40 churches and left six pastors and at least 500 others dead, according to Nigerian church leaders.

What began as outrage over suspected voting fraud in local elections quickly crossed over Jos's religious fault line between the Islamic north and Christian south. When angry Muslims took aim at Christian sites (rather than at political targets), Christian gangs responded in self-defense. Nigerian troops reportedly killed about 400 rampaging Muslims. Islamists in turn killed more than 100 Christians. More than 25,000 persons were displaced in the violence, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

Among the Christians killed was Joseph Yari of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA), who died helping other Christians repel Muslim fanatics bent on burning down Christ Baptist Church. Her grief notwithstanding, Mary Yari, the pastor's widow, said she had forgiven the killers. "They were ignorant of the crime they … committed because they do not know Jesus Christ," she said.

On September 7, 2001, religious conflict in Jos initiated more than four years of bloodshed, with Muslims and Christians taking turns attacking each other. Thousands were killed, and thousands more were displaced. In 2004, an estimated 700 people died in Yelwa, also in Plateau state, during Christian-Muslim clashes.

Benjamin Nasara of the ECWA's Plateau Church said that church history shows "the blood of the martyrs brings about the birth of the church. We see these ones who have gone ahead of us as the seeds that God is using to make the church in Jos North and Plateau state germinate."



Related Elsewhere:

Sunday Agang also ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Bibliophiles We
Did we mention that we love books?
RecommendedNo Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
No Middle Ground: Evangelical Leaders Reject Compromise on LGBT and Religious Rights
Scores sign statement against SOGI protections.
Trending‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
‘Worst Year Yet’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Hardest to Be a Christian
Islamic extremism now has a rival, according to 2017 World Watch List.
Editor's PickCompassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
Compassion Has 'Very Little Hope' for India, Sets Deadline to Shut Down Sponsorships
About 145,000 children have already lost its assistance with food, education, and health care.
Christianity Today
Fault Line of Faith
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2009

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.