Although Bedier called for Americans to “use our resources for something that is positive,” he offered few specifics. He advocated drone use in Nigeria “for surveillance,” not combat. Noting that BH sometimes outgunned government forces, Bray suggested that America aid Nigeria with intelligence and the FBI’s hostage rescue team, along with the United Nations.
Nigerian Christian leaders have identified most of the kidnapped girls as Christian, corresponding to BH’s targeting of Nigerian Christians to create Muslim-ruled regions. This sectarian divide, and not any religiously neutral socioeconomic deprivation often cited by American officials, has motivated BH, Christian human rights advocates have long contended (see here and here). Yet the online conference announcement described the “kidnapping of Muslim girls.” Abdul-Malik called that a mistake.
He noted that BH, as a “takfiri” group with a “medieval, feudal perspective,” also targets Muslim opponents as apostates. He had no interest, however, in the “mission creep” of questions concerning traditional Islamic death penalties for apostasy/blasphemy recurring in the modern world.
Boko Haram has been massacring Christians and other foes for years; yet only a crime shocking the world attracted the attention of these American-Islamist groups. A blogger’s search of CAIR’s website, for example, revealed only one entry for BH (post-press conference, two). CAIR condemned a 2011 bombing, but Chaudry claimed CAIR’s “focus is not international” as a “domestic organization.” Such domesticity, though, has not prevented CAIR from criticizing Israeli military action, or from defending Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt, something Chaudry did not feel at liberty to address. Chaudry also refrained from addressing child marriage in Nigeria, something not supported by Islam according to her assertions.
Speakers at Thursday’s news conference hardly reassured that they would adequately address the Islamic dangers posed in Nigeria by movements like BH. Not for nothing does BH’s “formal Arabic name” mean Jam’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-da’wa wal-Jihad, or “The Fellowship of the People of the Tradition for Preaching and Holy War,” Islam apostate and critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali observes.
As the Canadian Muslim reformer Tarek Fatah notes, wartime sex slavery does find sanction in Islamic sources, highlighting the need for open discussion of Islam’s various controversies. “We either develop the maturity to say, such Islamic injunctions do not apply anymore,” Fatah writes, “or we can keep on driving fast-forward in reverse gear…every time we hit an obstacle that appears in our blind spot, we can blame it on ‘Islamophobia.’”
Those at Thursday’s news conference chose the latter.
“There is a time when silence is betrayal,” Bray quoted King, a comment applicable to the press conference itself.
Andrew E. Harrod is a freelance researcher and writer who holds a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a JD from George Washington University Law School. He is admitted to the Virginia State Bar. He has published various pieces concerning an Islamic supremacist agenda at the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project, American Thinker, and Faith Freedom International.
This commentary appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.
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