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Everyone is asking: Why? Why are Muslims and Christians unable to live together in peace on the Jos Plateau? Why is there a continuing recurrence of violence? These are questions people in Nigeria and journalists from all over the world have asked me. I wish I had the answers.

The one thing I do know is that this time, as at other times, Christians once again have become the scapegoat of some evil intention to cause disharmony, separation, pain, destruction of lives and property, and disruption of normal civil life. This to me is evidence of what Jesus meant when he said, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

Evidence of this abundant life can be clearly seen in the progress, health care, and social services, together with the adult education, children's education and also tertiary education which the church brings to a people. These developments are functions of the gospel; they are products and evidence of an effective gospel ministry in any community. This same gospel also prepares people for leadership roles in all spheres of life. It is these fruits of the activity and life of the gospel which now have been suddenly burnt up in flames in one day, as the investments of a lifetime are turned into ashes.

It should be noted that in Jos we are coming face to face in confrontation with Satan and the powers of hell, and only God can save us. There are, however, many Muslims who totally disagree with violence as a means of settling issues, and of course it is not in accordance with the gospel to use violence to settle issues either. What seems to be a recurring decimal is that ...

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January 2010

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