18 October 2001

Nigeria, Malaysia, Mauritania and the Holy Land

Christians Killed and Wounded; Churches burnt.

The world’s attention is focused on America’s military campaign in Afghanistan to root out Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda organization. Qaeda literally means ‘the base’. It is a military reference, but the root of the word can mean to sit or abide, or to lie in wait, disable or paralyse. Whilst the eyes of the world are on Afghanistan, retaliatory violence and attacks are occurring against Christians across the Islamic world. Meanwhile Christians in the West have indeed become paralysed with fear, afraid that they will be labelled anti-Islamic if they speak out on behalf of their suffering brothers and sisters.


An estimated 500 people have lost their lives in savage fighting between Muslims and Christians in Jos. In Kano between 100 and 200 are reported to have been slaughtered, but probably the true figure is much higher. Homes, churches, businesses and shops have all been vandalised and burnt to the ground. One reliable witness described how Islamic extremists in bogus military and police uniforms joined in the slaughter of Christians. Over 16,000 have been made homeless.


Three churches in Malaysia have been attacked by arsonists in recent weeks. One was completely gutted by flames several weeks ago; another was pelted with Molotov cocktails; and chairs and church equipment were burnt in a third, both on 13 October.


The National Director for World Vision in Mauritania, and his young daughter were shot and injured whilst out walking on 17 October. They seem to have been targeted by a Mauritanian man angry at the attacks on Afghanistan, simply because they were Westerners.

The Holy Land

A Christian convert from Islam was stabbed to death by a supporter of Osama bin Laden on 8 October. The murderer shouted, “You are an apostate!” as he stabbed him.