Boko Haram and Nigerian schoolgirls

Screengrab from video obtained by AFP of Boko Haram leader Abubakar ShekauThe latest update is that the UK’s Guardian reports …

The leader of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has said that more than 270 schoolgirls snatched from their dormitories were “slaves” whom he planned to sell in the market.

“I abducted your girls,” a man claiming to be Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, said in a video seen by the Guardian. “I will sell them in the market, by Allah. I will sell them off and marry them off. There is a market for selling humans.

“Women are slaves. I want to reassure my Muslim brothers that Allah says slaves are permitted in Islam,” he added, in an apparent reference to an ancient tradition of enslaving women captured during jihad, or holy war.

Speaking in northern Nigeria‘s Hausa language during a rambling hour-long speech, he threatened further attacks on schools and warned the international community not to get involved in Nigeria. Shekau has previously called western education “a plot against Islam” and urged his fighters to kill students and teachers.

“I will marry off a woman at the age of 12. I will marry off a girl at the age of nine,” he said at another point in the video.

Is this truly what Boko Haram believe?

Most probably yes, there are of course many different strands of Islamic thinking – some is quite progressive and modern, but then there are also other strands that are firmly rooted in the 7th century and attempt to quite literally emulate the lifestyle of Mohammed.

In his time, Mohammed was a slave trader, and also conducted raids then resulted in him and his band of followers capturing “slaves”. There is an argument by some that Mohammed reformed slavery, but facts are facts, his supposed “humanitarian” reforms brought by Islam resulted in a vast development of the slave trade inside, and still more outside, the growing Islamic empire. The main reform was that the injunction against the enslavement of Muslims led to a massive importation of slaves from the outside. Islam by recognizing and codifying slavery did more to protect and expand slavery than the reverse – when it came to human rights, it was one huge leap backwards.

Humanity has moved on and left all that behind, but alas, religious thinking is often quite static and rooted in the past, and so once you embrace the idea of primitive islam being the ideal form, it does not take too great a leap of “logic” to then embrace violence as appropriate, and also think that slavery is a jolly good idea.


Well, if Mohammed was the ideal man, then his life must of been the ideal template to follow. Except of course it was not.

Now, let’s also get something clear … Boko Haram is not “Islam”, but rather is simply one of the many diverse variations that currently prevail. To assert that Boko haram is “Islam” and hence all Muslims are vile evil people would be as crazy as perhaps pointing at Westboro Baptist as the official representatives for all things Christian. Just as most Christians reject Westboro, so also do most Muslims reject Boko Haram. As a side note, even the KKK find Westboro too vile to stomach, and reject them.

Further thoughts on the situation in Nigeria

I have a few additional observations on things in Nigeria.

First, it is all very very odd

  • Nobody appears to be able to come up with a precise number, figures such as 270 or more are cited, but there is a complete lack of precision here.
  • Nobody appears to be able to come up with a verified list of names of the girls.

What on earth is going on, why can’t they come up with a precise list of exactly how many have been kidnapped and who they are?

I’m not suggesting a conspiracy, but rather a degree of complete and utter incompetence on the part of the authorities here.

Secondly, the kidnapping strikes me as a move taken by Boko Haram to provoke a violent response. Basically hit and run then hide (across the border), then issue one hour video’s boasting about the vile things you are about to do to all these girls. It increases the pressure on the largely unorganised authorities to respond, or at least to be seen to be taking decisive action, and so it is in all probability designed to trigger a violent response by the authorities that can then be utilised as propaganda by Boko Haram to win more minds and hearts.

This is not simply a random act by a brutal gang of thugs (well yes, they are thugs), it is also a rather complex game of chess. Given the degree of ineptness on display by the authorities in Nigeria, the rather frightening thought here is that Boko Haram know it and will leverage that to their advantage.


7 thoughts on “Boko Haram and Nigerian schoolgirls”

  1. Like you said, I totally agree with you that killing people for ideology is wrong and I call it terrorism like any other sane person would.


    1-“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” 2:256

    2- “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion.” 109-6

    After the caliphs took the righteous place of the Commander of the Faith, Imam Ali, he did not pick up his sword and fight any of them because people should themselves decide who they should follow, Allah or traitors.

    We are all created by God the Almighty, no matter whatever philosophical reasons they put forward to say there is no God; down deep we know this universe with all its intricacies is not an accident. Mathematically speaking, the probability of this universe accidentally created this way is absolutely zero.

    God has not left us in this world to cause problems for ourselves (and others). God has shown the way to those who want to have a perfectly matched life in this universe.

    I guess for one to believe in the truth of Islam, all what he needs to do is look at the rules for everything in Islam. Hard not to follow Islam afterwards.

  2. Dear Dave,

    Repeating a lie doesn’t make it an established fact and you know better. Wikipedia? Are you serious??? Prove me wrong by mentioning the name of ONE war the Prophet started.

    To give you a hint, after the residents of Mecca broke the temp peace between Muslims and idol worshipers, the army of Islam captured the city of Mecca. Can you tell me the number of people who got killed in the city??? (No, tell me the number of people with broken noses) Wow many people the Caravan raider of yours injured??? Answer: NONE! Is it consistent with the nature of a murdering raider!?

    Get your facts straight. Wanna learn about the real Islam, contact me: [email protected]

    • You will find a complete here …

      Couple of observations on that …

      1) It is a very very long list
      2) Mohammed initiated these raids and battles
      3) The second column tells you exactly when it was
      4) The third column tells you why
      5) The forth column tells you how many died, how many were enslaved, and how many were assassinated
      6) The fifth gives you the precise Islamic source for the details

      These are not the actions of a peace loving religious prophet. If you wish to dispute the details then your argument is not with me, nor with Wikipedia, but rather is with the notable islamic sources cited as the primary references … all available on-line for you to check and verify.

      As an example of the violence in play here, consider line 10 as an example. There Mohammed personally orders the brutal murder of Asma’ bint Marwan for opposing Muhammad with poetry.

      I have my facts straight.

      • The fact that you (and others) cannot come up with name of one war the Prophet has been the initiator, has a clear message. Besides, a list of lies, no matter how long it gets, is still a list of lies.

        Ibn Ishaq, Sahih al-Bukhari, etc such reliable sources!!! I don’t know where to begin with! I can enumerate countless obvious errors in them, but their narrators! the killers of the Prophet’s grandchildren are among their “reliable” narrators!

        Islam has two sources for all its beliefs, laws and rules: Ahl-Albait and Quran. The Prophet oh his deathbed (and countless other occasions such as Ashirat Alaqrabin, Qadir, etc.) ordered and commanded the Muslims to stick to Ahl-Albait, who are the only acceptable interpreters of Quran.

        Yet, 99 percent of Muslims decided that it is “not necessary” and chose others!!! They chose Abubakr, Umar and Othman, Muawiyah (the son of the Archenemy of the Prophet who also vigorously fought Islam before calling himself a Muslim !!!) as caliphs! Their followers are called Sunni.

        The followers of the 12 Imams the Prophet ordered, are called Shia. Interestingly enough, Shias can be shown to be the only true Muslims by the Sunni books and Quran.

        According to the teachings of the Prophet and Ahl-albait, MUSLIMS are not allowed to attack others unless they attack. However, the Caliphs (who killed the only daughter of the Prophet at a young age), attacked other countries in the name of Islam.

        I have proof for everything I claim: challenge me and show me wrong. Then, things start making sense for you.

        • Hi Ali,

          Rather than focusing in even more detail upon the things we do not agree upon, let us turn for a moment and focus upon the things that we do agree upon.

          Reading between the lines here, it is rather clear that you believe that it is wrong to violently attack others … that stance is nobel and very praiseworthy … I not only agree with that, but I applaud you for that. On this we agree.

          Now, turning to the original article, that discusses the violent attacks by Boko Haram … they are clearly violent thugs, and so I would happily condemn their actions as immoral. I believe that you would also do the same and would also (from your viewpoint) label them as false Muslims … am I right about that?

          People should be free to believe whatever they wish, and will most probably (if challenged) have reasons for what they believe. Where we might both also agree is that if those reasons are in fact bad ideas that are not actually true, then such individuals will be motivated by those bad ideas to commit bad actions … am I right about that as well?

          You and I might indeed hold different thoughts and embrace different ideas for different reasons … but what we do have in common is that the deployment of violence for the promotion of an idea is wrong.

          If we can at least agree on this, then that is a really good place for us to be.

  3. The depth of your ignorance about Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him and his household), Islam and Quran is beyond me. For your Information (I doubt you care about info), Prophet Muhammad never raided others and all the wars were in self-defense. I challenge you to come up with the name of ONE war which the Prophet initiated.
    When a war ends, there are people who are killed and people who are arrested as prisoner of war. In the “modern” world they put them behind bars and torture them. In the Islam of that time, they were accommodated in the houses of Muslims to be educated and gradually integrated with the culture. Muslims were ordered to give them the same food they ate; They had the right to file a complaint in the Islamic courts of the time, etc.

    Just look what happened to the poor abducted African-Americans in the land of liberty!!! They still suffer from the way they were left helpless in the society after the civil war.

    Truly interested in knowing what Islam is all about, contact me: [email protected]

    • Ali, the fact the Mohammed was a slave trader and also led aggressive offensive, not defensive raids that resulted in slaves being captured is a well-established historical fact.

      If curious, you can read about it here, and check the references for yourself.


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