At least 500 people died in riots between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. The latest rioting reportedly broke out as some Muslims celebrated terrorist attacks on the United States. In an earlier riot, 165 people were killed and 928 injured. Fighting broke out in the southern city of Jos in September, and more than 5,000 Muslim youth rioted in the northern city of Kano. Long-standing tensions between the two groups have escalated as Islamic law has been introduced in 12 of 19 northern states since last year. In February 2000, between 2,000 and 3,000 died in riots in Kaduna.

Eight foreign-aid workers jailed in Afghanistan on charges of preaching Christianity have selected a Muslim lawyer to defend them (CT, Oct. 1, p. 26). The attorney, Atif Ali Khan, understands Islamic law and speaks Pashto and Dari, the two main languages in the country. Western diplomats met with the workers in September, and relatives of Americans Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer attended proceedings. The first phase of the trial was held in the presence of 22 religious and legal scholars. With the threat of American military action hanging over the Taliban, the fate of the eight is even more uncertain. Sixteen Afghan workers for the Germany-based relief organization Shelter Now International were to be tried separately.

John DiIulio has resigned as director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. DiIulio, a Democrat who took the job while on leave from the University of Pennsylvania, said he needs to lose weight and lower his blood pressure. Although his office has faced criticism from groups concerned about church-state separation and antigay bias in hiring, a scaled-back version of the Community Solutions Act (H.R. 7) has passed the House and is now in the Senate.

Presbyterian theologian, writer, and activist Robert McAfee Brown died Sept. 4. He was 81. Brown, the author of 28 books, including the Sunday-school primer The Bible Speaks to You and a biography of Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, was a proponent of liberation theology and a cofounder of Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam. He was arrested as a Freedom Rider during the 1960s civil rights movement and protested U.S. weapons policy.

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