Was massacre much larger than earlier reported?
Compass Direct, a news service focusing on religious persecution issues, issued a stunning report this week by Obed Minchakpu in Jos, Nigeria. While reports last month noted the destruction of four churches torched by Muslim youths, Minchakpu reports that the violence continued. The final death toll, he reports is 1,500 Christians, including eight pastors. He also reports that 173 churches, not four, were destroyed in the violence, which spread into multiple states. Tens of thousands of others have been displaced by the violence.

Compass's main source was quoted by Nigerian newspapers, but their articles do not include most of the staggering figures. However, on at least one figure, the Nigerian media's numbers are higher than those of Compass. The Daily Times of Nigeria says that at least 60,000 people were displaced by the violence; Compass puts the number at "about 50,000." Still, Weblog hasn't found any media references to 1,500 Christian deaths. Any help from readers who monitor Nigeria?

In any case, while The Daily Times hopefully wrote, "60,000 displaced as Plateau clashes end," violence continues. Accusing a Christian youth ("suspected to be insane," says the Vanguard newspaper of Lagos) of desecrating a copy of the Qur'an, a Muslim mob on Saturday went on a fresh rampage. They destroyed 10 churches.

Sam Kujiyat, vice chairman of the Kaduna branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria, told Reuters that "foreign-funded Islamic extremism" was behind the attack. "We want to alert both the federal and state government that terrorists, hiding under religion, have invaded Kaduna state," he said at a press briefing. "Unless something urgent is done to identify and fish them ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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