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Press Release: #BringBackOurGirls – Stand Together Against Boko Haram!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 8, 2014

Press Release: #BringBackOurGirls – Stand together against Boko Haram!

Boko Haram’s actions contrary to Islam’s ideals, MFP says

Muslims For Peace (MFP) condemns the violence and kidnappings committed by terrorist group Boko Haram, saying such acts Islam goes against the positive qualities Islam, the world’s largest religion, stands for —peace, curiosity, education, enlightenment.

“Such gross mistreatment of women, especially young girls seeking a better life by getting an education, goes entirely against the teachings of Islam, which stresses the importance of men – and women – seeking knowledge, and men treating women with respect and dignity,” MFP said in a statement.

“It’s time the Muslim community accept the modern reality that the path to a peaceful, civil and open-minded society is through education and equality, as Prophet Muhammad said and exemplified throughout his life, not violence and repression.”

In recent weeks, Boko Haram, which roughly translated in English means “Western education is a sin,” and is based in northern Nigeria, has kidnapped young schoolgirls and killed hundreds of people. Attacks have taken place in villages where people were out shopping at local markets, among other locations, with some bodies reportedly burned.

The horrific violence took place after the world turned its focus on Boku Haram’s abduction of nearly 300 students from the Government Girls Secondary School in the Chibok region. In a video, the group’s self-proclaimed leader, Abubakar Shekau, said about the kidnapped girls: “I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” he said in the video. “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women….Slavery is allowed in my religion, and I shall capture people and make them slaves.”

While about 53 girls escaped, the rest are still believed to be held by the terrorist group, which has long been a thorn to Nigeria’ democratic government.

MFP, a coalition of several leading national and local Muslim organizations, is calling for the girls’ immediate release and safe return to their families.

On May 8, Malala Yousafazi, the young Pakistani girl whose own repression – and gunshot wound in the head – by the similarly-ideological Taliban, sparked a worldwide movement that made her a symbol of peaceful protest against those who deny education to girls, told CNN she considers the Nigerian girls her sisters.

The Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan for much of the 1990s before its downfall in 2001, when the war started, also denied educational opportunities to women and used brutal tactics similar to Boko Haram to remain in power.

Prophet Muhammad devoted much of his life improving women’s positions in society, and many modern Muslims continue to cite his actions for inspiration. His wife, Khadijah, was a successful businesswoman.

MFP said Islam has long stressed the importance of gaining knowledge throughout one’s life, contrary to Boko Haram’s actions. Prophet Mohammad had been known to say that “acquisition of knowledge is binding on all Muslims.”

The organization commends President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for intervening for these girls’ well being.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Hasan Ali, Director MFP | info@muslims4peace.org

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