“In Nigeria, 276 schoolgirls were taken at gunpoint from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno state on 14 April 2014.” Few months ago, in the same blog, I’d written an article about Boko Haram and I’m quoting the intro from that. “What is Boko Haram ? These are the word of local Hausa language. In English it means ‘Western education is sinful.’ It is a Jihaidst militant organization based in the northeast of Nigeria. It is the military wing of ‘Jama Ahl-esunnah lid-dawa al-jihad’ a parallel of Jamat Islami in India or Pakistan.”
I’m not a professional journalist but an impulsive scribe. I’ve very limited knowledge and well aware that many revolutionaries have successfully changed the socieities through their pen. I’m also neither a prolific writer nor do I harbor any great such illusions. I simply write when something pricks or appeals.
I got to know about this kidnapping through CNN headlines and I wasn’t surprised. First I thought that these armed zealots of Boko Haram had found something offensive in the school culture or syllabus and it could be just a violent reaction. What surprised and shocked me was the later announcement of their leader Abubakar Shekau threatening to sell the teenage girls “into the marketplace” as slaves, or force them to marry by age 12. That ‘he would sell the girls because in his dream that's what Allah told him to do’. To me, it is not Islam. This is sheer terrorism which has nothing to do with Islam. Islam does not prevent girls from schooling; Islam rather encourages girls to study. The fanatics think that seeking western education is against Islam. The first word that God told the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was ‘Iqraa’, which means READ or learn or study. God told us that you have to study. So Islam never said that education is forbidden for women or for men, in fact Islam obliges us to learn.
Boko Haram is a Taliban-styled group that has abducted these innocent girls. Nigerian police has offered a $300,000 reward for information leading to the rescue of 276 girls who were abducted from their government-run school in Chibok by Boko Haram gunmen. They drove off with them into the jungle.
According to the belief of Boko, attending school violates the Islamic law. Officials believe that at least some of the girls may have been taken into remote regions of neighboring Cameroon, Chad or Niger. World governments are offering to help Nigerian authorities find the girls and capture the kidnappers. Ironically, these abductions are happening before an Africa-wide economic conference in Abuja to showcase the oil-rich country's progress.
It is strange that Nigerian government failed to take any precautionary measures though the Nigeria's military had advanced warning of the April 14 attack by Boko Haram. According to Amnesty International - "Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings about Boko Haram's armed raid on the state-run boarding school in Chibok which led to the abduction. We had verified the information about the abduction with credible sources". The military miserably failed to assemble the troops needed to suppress the attack. The 17 army personnel based in Chibok were overpowered by the attackers and had to retreat.
While the fate of these girls hangs in the balance, one wonders what the religious Islamic scholars in India or elsewhere have to say in this matter. Sometimes silence is a crime.
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