In April, John Chesworth, (editor of Christian-Muslim News Digest, produced by the Network for Interfaith Concerns of the Anglican Communion (NIFCON)), spent three weeks in Jos. Whilst there he met with the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, the Most Reverend Ben Kwashi, to assure him of the support and prayers of NIFCON and to learn from him about the situation in Jos.
Archbishop Ben Kwashi said that the crisis was not religious in origin, but rather the result of the Indigene/Settler issue, exacerbated by land issues, and that effective security was the way to control the situation.
He saw that the root-cause of the cycle of violence was the break-down of law and order with perpetrators of violence acting with impunity. A culture of retaliation has built up with people not expecting to be detained or punished by the judiciary for their actions.
Archbishop Ben Kwashi was critical of the BBC’s coverage of the crisis, seeing it as telling the story from one side only. One area that raised particular concern for him was the misreporting of the numbers of Muslims and Christians killed during the crisis, due to an assumption that all bodies laid out in mosques were Muslims.
He commented that Anglicans were working across the boundaries and divides with development and HIV/AIDS projects, whereas most of the other denominations, which are often ethnically-based, were more ‘inward looking’ and were not attempting to cross boundaries and to break down divisions.
The full report on Jos appears in the current issue of Christian-Muslim News Digest.