#BringBackOurGirls: Misplaced Muslim priorities and Nigeria’s Boko Haram

Published: May 9, 2014

Unfortunately for the girls, they were kidnapped by a religious terrorist organisation, and official Islamic boards across the world will continue to ignore whatever actions Boko Haram takes. PHOTO: REUTERS

One of the mothers of the missing Nigerian school girls wipes her tears as she cries during a rally by civil society groups pressing for the release of the girls in Abuja on May 6, 2014. PHOTO: AFP Unfortunately for the girls, they were kidnapped by a religious terrorist organisation, and official Islamic boards across the world will continue to ignore whatever actions Boko Haram takes. PHOTO: REUTERS Nigeria's radical group Boko Haram. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

300 girls are being sold to slavery in the name of Allah (swt) as you read this; 300 girls, whose only crime was to go to a school and be educated in a system considered far too ‘Western’ by Nigeria’s al Qaeda offshoot, Boko Haram.

Just yesterday, by killing another 300 civilians in the country’s Muslim-dominated north, Boko Haram proved to the rest of the country that it wasn’t going to sympathise with the ‘Western-influenced’ marches taking place in Nigeria.

By the way, this Muslim-dominated north also follows the Sharia law. Looks like Nigeria’s extremists did not stop their “honourable uprising” even after northern Nigeria’s Muslims submitted to live under the Sharia.

Yet, other more ‘important’ matters dominate Muslim politics in Nigeria than armed uprisings that sporadically raid and kill hundreds. Matters as important as legalising child marriages are being put forward by Nigeria’s self-proclaimed representative of Muslim interests, Senator Ahmad Yerima, who himself married a 13-year-old school-going girl from Egypt.

Furthermore, he justifies his actions by claiming that attempts made by other Muslim clerics and Christians, to criminalise child marriages, are against Islam and infringe upon the freedom of practicing Islamic beliefs.

Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?

A Taliban uprising in the north-west for the last decade has killed more than 3000 people, though our country’s religious boards only seem to be interested in imposing veils for women. And now that Malala, the Jew-funded demon, has expressed her compassion for the kidnapped girls, Pakistanis are surely going to call this whole affair a Western conspiracy being used to malign Muslims everywhere.

Sad to say, this incredibly ill-thought out prioritisation isn’t limited to Nigeria and Pakistan. 300 missing girls haven’t led to any outraged Muslims burning down their own countries or shooting at local police officers. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the supposed voice of Muslims everywhere, doesn’t appear to be even slightly shaken by the actions of any terrorist organisation operating in the name of Islam, let alone the Boko Haram’s recent transgressions.

In fact, the only actual achievement the OIC lauds itself over is making blasphemy of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) a criminal act and a misuse of the freedom of speech. While the OIC has also called for abolishing female circumcision, it has never concentrated on the practical issues that a majority of Muslims across the world face; issues as simple and resolvable as dowry payments and divorce without accountability.

Instead, because of the OIC’s lack of action NGOs, like the United Kingdom-based Islamic Relief Organisation, are forced to take action and help regular Muslims. This NGO, due to all its hard work, is about to become the UK’s most generous religious group. The OIC has also been completely incompetent in addressing many political issues Muslims face, whether it is the Syrian crisis being inflated to a Shia-Sunni conflict or the ongoing exodus of Muslims in the Central African Republic. Perhaps the only thing it is capable of is preventing prophet-related slander.

Had these 300 girls been fired upon by American soldiers, the girls would have received much more publicity, or maybe if they were Arab or white, there would have been a bigger uproar. Or perhaps, if they had been beheaded by whatever non-Muslim groups could get their hands on them, the OIC would have created a hoopla. But so long as it is a Muslim group, official Islamic boards across the world will continue to ignore whatever actions are taken by Boko Haram.

Of course, this will only be until a Western military operation takes place in Nigeria and they kill everyone will the ulema finally wake up and mourn the “brutal carnage the West brought” and the “suffering of the Muslims of Nigeria”. While the world will pray for the girls’ safe return, Boko Haram and politicians, like Ahmad Yerima, have other priorities.

Rana Saadullah Khan

Rana Saadullah Khan

A film fanatic who can't stand nationalism over liberalism, or conspiracy theories or secular facism or religious fantacism. He is an A Levels student at Learning Alliance. He tweets as @RSaadullah (twitter.com/RSaadullah)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • UzairH

    Rana, I agree with your article, but would like to clarify (in relation to your self-description) that there are no “secular fascists” in Pakistan. Fascism indicates the propensity to use violence and blackmail to achieve one’s ideological goals, and while the religious side is very clearly using such methods, no person or group in Pakistan that professes its actions as driven by liberalism or secularism has used bombs or guns.

    I believe that you use this term to try and appear balanced. I suggest reading up on the Ballance Fallacy.Recommend

  • Roger

    Rana Saadullah Khan : that’s a nice article you’ve written. well done !Recommend

  • Critical

    Wow,you are expecting the Arab world to respond.. They did respond well to the Syrian crisis by taking in refugees,but with a small twist..
    They shopped for child brides in the refugee camps and bought them….


    Honestly,they might now be thinking of how to contact Boko Haram to know where they are going to sell the child brides…Recommend

  • Kim

    Also, almost all the kidnapped girls are Christians (or, rather, were, since they have all been forced to convert to Islam). Atrocities against Christians are not deemed very news-worthy either.
    Boko Haram has been kidnapping Christian girls for a long time there, but it’s always just swept under the rug.Recommend

  • hj

    Wow…You have the guts to speak the truth! I Salute to you sir!Recommend

  • Kolsat

    The problem with all Muslims and their organisations is that they do not rise against atrocities performed by Muslims be they female genital mutilation or murders and kidnappings. In Syrian conflict the rebels are not helped against the brutal Assad regime but no sooner than western nations help them the Muslim world rise against the western nations calling them a Jewish anti-Islam conspiracy. This thinking makes them kill polio vaccinators and call Malala a Jewish agent.

  • Realist

    As evidenced by youtube videos and reputed media networks organisations from Europe to North america,India to south east asia and even China are down there in Gaza decrying Israeli human rights record and trying to help the palestenians in anyway they can. They are Indian human rights organisations who work tirelessly to expose the wrongs in Kashmir.There are russians who despite the fear of Vlad Putin try to help out the Chechnians.But when terrorist attack takes place due to muslim groups like Boko Haram,LET,MNLF there is silence.Other than a few condemnations by groups on the internet rest just disregard it as a conspiracy or just say that they are not true muslims.LOL.There are jews who at great risk of their own lives fight against Zionism and for the palestenian cause.But not a single muslim in history has fought for the rights of non muslims against muslim radicals.Boko Haram has been tearing Nigeria for a long time.Why hasn’t any muslim group gone to help out the Christians in that striken country like they help the palestenians.You expect the entire world to cry at you for palestine but when tables are turned not a single word is uttered except a few condemnations on the net.But what to expect.You people whine about how the west is invading your lands,colonisation but you guys praise the barbarian arabs and turks who have invaded,plundered, colonised and looted non muslim lands for centuries.A day will come when the world will really be silent to your plight.Recommend

  • sharabi

    Well you can blame CIA/RAW/MOSSAD/KGBRecommend

  • Imran Rajjad

    I could not stop myself from correcting you sir,,,there have been countless examples of secular fascism around the world. A Magazine came under fire from left groups after it refused to publish a woman`s selfie of post her weight loss because she was not covering up properly..two TV hosts lost their jobs because they said they do not like Gays ..Secular Fascists believe in the term … “Freedom to Speech as long as you agree” .. these people are very influential and can have you harmed even without guns and bombs. Hence they are no different than these religious extremist idiots who use religion as a stairway to their own goalsRecommend

  • Rana

    I deliberately avoided using the term ‘liberal fascist’, because I think that is a contradictory term.
    What isn’t contradictory is a secular fascist. European dictators, Afghan warlords, the Syrian president and the Rwandan genocide leadees are very irreligious examples of extremism.

  • Rana

    It’s highly unlikely Kim that the kidnapped girls are overwhelmingly Christian.

    There haven’t been any official statistics as to how many were Muslim/Christian, but apparently many Christians have been forcibly converted to Islam and the Muslim girls have been sold as child brides. Given that Boko Haram considers all other Muslims apostates, it won’t discriminate between the average Nigerian Christian or Muslim.Recommend

  • Talha Rizvi

    Well done I salute your courage.
    1 ) People have already started calling it a western conspiracy on Et’s facebook page on the news of Malala calling those girls her sister people abused her with the most disgusting language possible.
    2) Please explain this to all defenders and supporters of Taliban.Recommend

  • Carl Benz

    Islam is re emerging in its pure form in Nigeria @ Boko Haram.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    You can blame CIA, RAW whoever without evidence, but not Religion even if the Terrorists themselves claim they are following the scriptures to the dot. Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    The true liberals are willing to discuss and debate the impact of liberalism on all the violent acts that secular fascists have committed.

    Is anyone willing to discuss the impact of Religion on religiously motivated violence?Recommend

  • UzairH

    Thank you Rana and Imran for your correction. I agree that there are secular people who of course commit violence and evil, but what is the purpose stating them as secular? They do not do what they do because of their secular belief system (because there is no such thing), but because of whatever political ideology they create or follow (Nazism, communism, etc).Recommend

  • Parvez

    Strong stuff….nicely laid out.Recommend

  • hp kumar

    Pakistanis should first ask themselves what they r doing with minor Hindu and Xtian girsl before pointing finger towards Boko HaramRecommend

  • darbullah

    Secular fascists are not a pain for nearly 1000 years!Recommend

  • Osama Zia

    So true Sir,,Recommend

  • نائلہ

    When did you receive this revelation, “Carl Benz”?Recommend

  • Raj – USA

    There is a huge difference between what Boko Haram has done and what is being done in Pakistan. In Pakistan it is not the terrorist groups, mullas or madrassa educated who commit such acts. Nor are the girls taken to remote isolated locations as in Nigeria. In Pakistan, the hindu and christian girls are kidnaped right from their homes and brought to good muslim family homes where everything is done to them when they are holding Quran in their hands and reciting Kalima. The Courts protect the kidnapers and the Chief Justice praises them. You will see Pakistani muslims, even those residing in US and UK praising/justifying these acts. At least some or all of these kidnaped girls may be recovered in Nigeria. But, has even one hindu/christian kidnaped girl recovered after she has been taken to a muslim home. Has anyone heard from even one such girl ever after. As the Asian Human Rights Commission has reported, In the case of Rinkle, Chief Justice ordered that Rinkle should not meet her family so that the truth does not come out. Will any Pakistani muslim demand to find out where and how is Rinkle now? Will Pakistanis who often cite India’s Saachar Commission Reports ever suggest their government and courts to set up such a Commission specifically focusing on these types of conversions that have been happening for over 65 years and demand that the Commission’s report be made public? Will Imran Khan make such a demand? Will Shireen Mazzari who even resigned from PTI because there were derogatory comments on her daughter in the Facebook, take up the cause of these hindu and christian girls? Pakistan is far worse than Nigeria.Recommend

  • MHZ

    This request was actually made by Habib Ali Al Jifri, a renowned Sufi of the Arab world.
    A very refreshing development considering that the whole Muslim community has shut its mouth on the issue.
    We need more Scholars like Habib Ali Al Jifri who have been vocal about the rights of women in Islam.Recommend

  • Ali

    You want ullema to wake up … search about the fatwa from Grand mufti of saudi arabia condemning BOKO HARAM’s action …. please stop spreading false news ….Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Dude – there is nothing called a secular fascist, you can just call the person a fascist. Using the term Secular fascist implies that they are inspired by secularism, or that they derive power by using secularism ins some way – which is clearly not the case.Recommend

  • Critical

    How is weight loss and anti-gay propaganda related to Secularism???

    Do u even know the Secularism or are u reading ur madrassa version which says anyone who are different from you are secular….

    Please google about secularism and learn about it first before u come to talkRecommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    By claiming Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Indian Mujahideen, LeT are an aberration in the Muslim world, you, who profess to despise them, are playing into their hands.

    Such groups are NOT an aberration. Historically too we can see such hatred of the other in India in the 1940s, when Zoroastrians were chased out of their homes to India, when Temples were razed in India, etc.

    Nigeria is in a completely different continent than Af-Pak. Yet, the way they have “misinterpreted” the Quran is exactly identical to the Taliban, TTP and Al Qaeda interpretations of it.

    Until, Muslims embrace real liberalism and rationality, over their Religion, there is not much hope.Recommend

  • genesis

    The Arab world which is so quick to defend any criticism of religion has amnesia on these issues. What is the OIC doing. It can influence these mad people and tell them it is wrong but will they do. They will not.Recommend

  • http://rawirilove.com/ Rawiri Love

    Country’s Muslim
    dominated north says it all. Do we hear the same reports said of the
    Christian South…IDEOLOGY? Now of course we hear the same line excuse said
    frequently “This was an extremist Islam
    group.” Jesus preached love to all mankind…even your enemies.Recommend

  • http://rawirilove.com/ Rawiri Love

    Country’s Muslim
    dominated north says it all. Do we hear the same reports said of the
    Christian South…IDEOLOGY? Now of course we hear the same line excuse said
    frequently “This was an extremist Islam
    group.” Jesus preached love to all mankind…even your enemies.Recommend

  • Taha Siddiqui

    To Quote Mahatir Muhammad, “Its not OIC, rather its Oh, …. I See…”…!Recommend

  • Imran Rajjad

    Read my post again.. I said these people bully others under the name of Secularism..Offcourse what they do is not Secularism.Recommend