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Friday, 16 May 2014

Boko Haram and Forced Conversions

With the release of a video apparently showing about 130 of the more than 200 girls kidnapped from a school in northern Nigeria on 14 April by Boko Haram, its focused the world on the events once again ..... Infamously their Muslim abductors led by Abubakar Shekau have threatened to sell them as 'slaves' and 'booty of war' ....

Of course what's not been so highly mentioned in the UK press until this week (presumably for fear of upsetting some groups in the UK), is that the majority of the abducted girls are Christians, so are considered fair game for abduction, rape and forced conversion or 'marriage' (which is a bit like being a slave in many respects), by Islamic extremists  .... Boko Haram for instance, thinks that the girls should not have been at school, and should be converted to Islam and married instead, and have also threatened in the past to kidnap Christian women, in retaliation for the arrest of their members' wives by the Nigerian security services.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the stark choices, at least 2 of the girls say they were Christian and have now 'converted to Islam' (and probably all the rest have as well) ... what sort of religion uses the threat of the sword or slavery to get and keep converts? For make no mistake, the girls will not be able to renounce their forced conversions and will face more death threats if they later try and renounce Islam. You only have to look at the death sentence passed on a pregnant Christian woman in the ever backward Sudan (for bravely not renouncing her Christianity), to see that this idea of forced conversion of Christians is popular in Islamic countries ....

Boko Haram
 
Boko Haram's leadership also have a practical reason for taking slaves; insurgents on the move need camp followers and servants. Women who have escaped from them in the past have said the group forcibly married captive women to favoured commanders as a reward, or used women as sex slaves for their troops. By 'converting', the girls at least are less likely to be raped by all the men.

The Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has now said that the children would be held until all imprisoned militants had been freed .... but that in the meantime that "These girls, these girls you occupy yourselves with... we have indeed liberated them. These girls have become Muslims."

Violent Extremists

Of course we have seen something of these attitudes towards non Muslim women before .... is not what has been happening in many of our cities such as Derby, Rotherham, Rochdale, Peterborough, and other towns and cities so very different? It certainly displays much the same mindset as Boko Haram towards Non-Muslim women.

In the meantime, the strangely lazy Nigerian Government has done little to get the girls back and the Interior Minister Abba Moro has merely rejected 'the deal', telling the press that it was "absurd" for a "terrorist group" to try to set conditions.

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