May 6th, 2014
10:50 AM ET

Hey Boko Haram, pick up a Quran and bring back our girls

Opinion by Arsalan Iftikhar, special to CNN 

(CNN) - Hey Boko Haram, have you read the Quran lately?

Most of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world have, and we're utterly certain that it condemns kidnapping young girls and selling them into slavery - no matter what you say "Allah" tells you.

According to Amnesty International, several hundred schoolgirls - both Christian and Muslim - between the ages of 16 and 18 were abducted at gunpoint on April 14 from their rooms at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria, where they had been sleeping.

The armed extremist group Boko Haram, which roughly translates to “Western Education is Sin,” claimed responsibility for these mass kidnappings and threatened to sell these young girls for as little as $12 into sex slavery or forced “marriages” to members of their group.

"I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah," a man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video first obtained by Agence France-Presse.

"There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women," he continued, according to a CNN translation from the local Hausa language.

'I will sell them,' Boko Haram leader says of kidnapped Nigerian girl

As a Muslim human rights lawyer, it is obscene and absolutely un-Islamic for these lunatic human traffickers to invoke the name of God while kidnapping young girls and threatening to sell them into sexual slavery.

The leaders of Boko Haram have clearly never read the Holy Quran, which states quite clearly that “oppression is worse than murder” (2:191) and that nobody “shall force girls to commit prostitution” (24:33).

They must have also missed the numerous times that the Prophet Muhammad categorically stated during his life that women or children were never to be harmed under any situation.

“These abducted schoolgirls are my sisters,” said 2013 Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai recently in a New York Times interview on the Boko Haram kidnappings.

“The international community and the government of Nigeria (must) take action and save my sisters. … It should be our duty to speak up for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are in a very difficult situation.”

Nigeria abductions: 6 reasons why the world should demand action

The real heroes are young Muslim women like Malala Yousafzai and these latest Nigerian schoolgirls who continue to assert their basic human rights to education in the face of danger every day.

These amazing young women will help to empower and motivate our young Muslim girls to become their countries’ next generations of scientists, technologists, engineers and doctors.

In the meantime, the rest of the world’s Muslim population will continue to denounce extremists like Boko Haram.

And we will  proudly stand in solidarity with these missing young schoolgirls in Nigeria, and every other woman around the world who continues to fight for her basic human rights.

Arsalan Iftikhar is an international human rights lawyer, founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and adjunct professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Foreign policy • Human trafficking • Islam • Muslim • Nigeria • Opinion • Quran • Religious violence

soundoff (346 Responses)
  1. ragansteve1

    "And we will proudly stand in solidarity with these missing young schoolgirls . . . ." The problem is that standing is not enough. Tweeting is not enough. And before anyone leaps to the erroneous conclusion that I am advocating US Military involvement beyond intelligence support, I would say emphatically, "NO." This is a problem for Nigeria and the world as a whole.

    It is fine to quote the Quran and say this is not the Islamic way. I get it. But there thugs are invoking their religion and so at least part of the response should come from Islam, and by that I mean more than just words or tweets. If there is to be military intervention, where are the Islamic soldiers in this fight? So, far I have seen US, UK and French involvement. Where are the Islamic nations?

    May 20, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
    • kenmargo

      The Muslim/Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, Egypt just to name two) will not get involved. Why? Three reasons. 1) They don't care. 2) This is a coulture problem. 3) They are scared that terrorist groups will attack them. I have girls. I feel for those families. But this is something the Arab world needs to solve. And solve alone.

      May 20, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
  2. jeannetteoakes

    Please please read and share our blog about #BringBackOurGirls to spread the word about these horrific acts! bringbackourgirls.weebly.com

    May 20, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
  3. joeyy1


    May 11, 2014 at 8:24 pm |
  4. Salero21

    mmm.... After I explained in detail in the previous page, what a chicken-hawk is. And why they, together with some political careerists, atheists etc. are always going around parroting the idea, of sending a Military made up of SEOSEC's to wars there and everywhere. It appears they actually did stop their warmongering chicken-hawk rants, demanding that the USA send troops there. Maybe they'll start again their chicken-hawking in the next blog about the same subject.

    Well, what can I say that I've not said already. Atheists, chicken-hawks are extremely hypocritical and Compulsive pathological liars. Which proves once again that atheism/evolutionism are indeed, Absolute, Complete and Total NONSENSE.

    May 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm |
    • Salero21

      It's very, very EASY to detect the CHICKEN-HAWKS here, there and everywhere.

      They're ALMOST ALWAYS among the Firsts to ask, cry, shout and even scream for the US to send troops everywhere there's some trouble. That's because in their freak mentality they KNOW that they're not the ones to go, as long as there're SEOSEC's to do it for them. As long as that Military is made up of SEOSEC's they will continue to do so.

      Today's chicken-hawks are the sons and grandsons of those who 45 years ago, were shouting "Hell no we won't go". They re-elected Nixon because he promised them to abolish the Draft. They're the same that 10 years ago were shouting "No blood for Oil" when rumors were flying the Draft could come back. And it certainly can.

      SEOSEC is for Someone Else Or Someone Else's Child. Some politicians, most Political careerists and atheists are very fond of SEOSEC's for as long as they are there.

      The Creed of a CHICKEN-HAWK is: My only regret is that my neighbor/friend has only one life to give for My/his/our Country. This Creed/Credo can take a nasty form, as it may include in the neighbor/friend part such as father/grandfather/brother or even worst yet mom/sister/girlfriend/wife.

      May 10, 2014 at 4:36 pm |
      • Doris

        Talking to yourself again, Salero? That's one of the signs of someone who is in a state of PANIC!

        May 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm |
        • Salero21

          So then.. do you have a disprove or refutation to what I said? Are you a CHICKEN-HAWK a Vulture or a hyena?

          May 10, 2014 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Vic

    The media coverage on this is very impressive, from the various news outlets, Katie Couric's special, and to the First Lady delivering the President's speech regarding the matter.

    It shows solidarity on what matters the most, that is human life, transcending the fallibility and corruption prune human doctrines and politics.

    May 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
  6. joeyy1


    May 10, 2014 at 1:15 pm |
  7. ShluRaffa

    Boring. Islam is at fault, and everyone with a working brain knows it. The rest is apologetics.

    May 9, 2014 at 4:50 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.