Schoolgirls are so strong that they can actually cause chaos in an Islamic society and should instead just be married off or used as sex slaves in times of war — at least according to the ‘Nigerian Taliban’. This thought led the Boko Haram to conduct mass abduction of young girls from schools in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria and take them deep down into the forests bordering Cameroon.
This is not the first time that young girls were subjected to terror and attack at the behest of extremists demanding Shariah law. In Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai was shot for advocating education, in an incident that attracted worldwide condemnation.
Islam calls for education for all. Our religion has never suggested that a girl is just limited to bearing children, serving meals.
This dangerous belief stems from fanatic patriarchal thought systems that survive on subjugating women for cheap media tactics and attracting more men into joining them.
Nigerian women have told the government that they would march naked and go into the forests to confront the militants, social media is flooded with #BringBackOurGirls and the US has already offered diplomatic, military and intelligence assistance in recovering the missing girls.
Amid the global outcry against the kidnapping, the International Criminal Court prosecutor is in the last stages of deciding whether or not to open an investigation into the matter.
Can you imagine the horror of a mother who sends her child off to school and the child does not come home? I cannot. Being a girl myself, I know that if I were not educated, you would not have been able to read this. I would probably have no voice.
I would not know the importance of education. If these girls never return home, does that mean they will have a chance of being heard, educated or becoming what they wanted?
Maybe Deborah, Naomi, Hauwa, Pindar, Mary, Monica, Grace, Esther, Aisha, Ruth, Saraya, Blessing, Gloria, Christy, Tabitha, Helen, Amina, Hasana and Rhoda all had dreams of becoming doctors, engineers or lawyers. Militants would never understand this because they are blinded by an agenda for their personal pursuits where using young ‘unarmed’ girls is the best they can do.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2014.