Dear Boko Haram, you know nothing of Islam

The Nigerian extremists call themselves Muslim, but they are nothing more than a vile band of killers and kidnappers

 

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I don’t know who you are or what you represent. Whatever it is, it couldn’t be any further from me and other ordinary citizens of the world, be they Muslims or otherwise. You see, humanity unites most of us, but it seems like an alien concept to you.

However I write to you with the faintest hope that there may be some amongst you who are uncomfortable with the dreadful deeds you have committed recently. 

In the short time since you came into existence you have maimed scores of mothers, fathers and children through your indiscriminate bombings. 

Now you cause complete agony to the relatives of the hundreds young and innocent girls you have kidnapped. These poor girls haven’t even properly embarked on the journey of their lives.

As a father, I know the anguish of being unaware of my child’s whereabouts even for a moment; but of these mothers' distress, I can’t even begin to fathom.

I gather that Boko Haram means “western education is forbidden”. This gives some indication to your motives. Leaving aside the education aspect for a moment, is there any merit to what you have done?

The kidnapping of these poor girls, their forced marriage for the sake of base carnal passion, or their sale as commodities, reviving the abhorrent practice of slavery, is beyond all belief and humanity.

The Koran – the book you claim to follow - firmly asserts that detaining or enslaving women against their will is completely forbidden [4:20]. It also emphatically rejects the idea of holding captive prisoners of war unless there is ongoing and regular fighting [8:68]. 

Do you then claim that ''strong men'' such as yourselves are at war with 16 year-old girls? The Hadith-e-Qudsi, the second most revered texts in Islam after the Holy Koran, states that one who enslaves and trades a free person has declared war with his creator.

Going against these principles, not only have you rejected the very tenets which set civilisations apart from cavemen, but you have declared war against the same God who you claim to worship.

You appear to have a deep-rooted issue with western education. The Holy Koran, however, teaches a prayer: “Oh our Lord, increase for us our knowledge”.

It did not differentiate between the type knowledge in this prayer. It is full of similar injunctions. It invites us to ponder over the creation of earth, sun moon and the heavens.

Much of this is taught within the secular system. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) declared it to be the obligation of every man and woman to acquire knowledge.

You may not have realised this, but the pioneer Muslims of early and medieval Islam gave everything to increase their knowledge and impart it further. They learnt and they taught. They lived by the Hadith that “wisdom is the lost property of a Muslim” and were always eager to excel.

They learnt new languages, translated books between various languages, such as the great Greek texts of the ancient world. Their graft and toil introduced many branches of modern science to the world.

Western education has many reasons to be grateful to those people and their names are etched in the golden pages of history, both Islamic and secular.  I doubt history will be so kind in its record of your existence.  

Perhaps you don’t care about your position in history, but what about the God who you claim to believe in? What about the Prophet who you claim to follow and love?

The Koran starts with the introduction to God who is merciful, compassionate and gracious. Have you shown even an ounce of any of these attributes? As for the Prophet, he has been addressed as “mercy for mankind” and a “life-giving prophet”.

Therefore, adopt a course of mercy and do so by first returning the girls you hold captive to their anguished mothers.

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