Nigerians protest Boko Haram's kidnapping of their girls.
“They started shouting, ‘Allah O Akbar’, (God is great) and we knew.” Hearing the Islamic battle cry, the 16-year- old girl realized the men in military uniforms, who claimed to be government soldiers sent to protect them, were lying, and were in fact Islamist militants of the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram.
It was just before dawn on April 14 in the northeastern town of Chibok that jihadis of the Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls to serve as sex slaves for their fighters.
Only a handful of the girls realized what was happening and escaped from the trucks taking them to Boko Haram camps in the jungle.
Three weeks have passed and almost nothing has been done to rescue the girls. In fact, on Monday the jihadis kidnapped eight more girls.
Boko Haram has released a video of their leader, Abubakar Shekau, taunting the rest of the world.
“I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah,” the Boko Haram leader said with a chuckle as he stood in front of an armoured personnel carrier and two masked fighters wielding AK-47s, the black flag of al-Qaida fluttering behind him.
He invoked Islamic injunctions about female prisoners of war (POWs), saying, “Allah has instructed me to sell them. They are his property and I will carry out his instructions.”
Many of kidnapped school girls are Christians. So far, much of the Muslim world has remained mute about this outrage.
On the international scene, Egypt’s prestigious Islamic institute Al-Azhar urged the Boko Haram to free the schoolgirls. It said, harming the girls “completely contradicts the teachings of Islam and its tolerant principles.”
It is sad to see few Muslim leaders, political or religious, willing to take the bull by the horns and admit, “We have a problem in Sharia law that needs to be resolved.” All many clerics of my faith do is repeat the cliche that Islam means peace.
Then they predictably insist the actions of the Taliban, Al-Qaida, Boko Haram and the jihadi terror groups based in Pakistan are an aberration from true Islam.
But here is the problem.
Both the exegesis of the Qur’an and reading of the Hadith literature speak of sex slavery of non-Muslim female POWs both during and after the life of Prophet Mohammed.
Instead of being courageous and saying while such commandments and permissions may have been valid in the seventh century, they are no longer applicable in the era of the nation-state and human rights, leaders of my community choose doublespeak.
Here is a paragraph from chapter four of the Qur’an, as translated by the most formidable Islamist scholar of the 20th century, Syed Maududi:
“And forbidden to you are the wedded wives of other people, except those who have fallen in your hands (as prisoners of war): This is the Law of Allah.” In his explanation, Maududi goes to great lengths to justify and explain the rightfulness of such rape of non-Muslim POWs.
There are references in the Hadith (sayings of Prophet Mohammed) where sex with enslaved non-Muslim women POWs is discussed in detail.
We Muslims have a choice.
We either develop the maturity to say, such Islamic injunctions do not apply anymore, or we can keep on driving fast-forward in reverse gear, and every time we hit an obstacle that appears in our blind spot, we can blame it on “Islamophobia.”
Tarek Fatah, is a Canadian writer, broadcaster and anti-Islamist Muslim activist. He is the author of Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and the founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress.