Meditations of a christizen (christian-citizen)upon today's topics.
The Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group based in Nigeria, kidnapped roughly 200 girls from their boarding school approximately two weeks ago. The girls literally were rudely awakened in the dark of night as armed militants carried them away from the seeming safety of their school bunks into the unknown. The mass human theft made the news but has received sparse coverage given the magnitude of the event.
Boko Haram’s stated purpose is the establishment of an Islamic theocratic state for Muslims who wish to live in one. However, the means to achieve their lofty goal is less than ideal. The mass kidnapping happened within 48 hours of a bombing in Abuja for which they gladly take credit.
Nigeria’s military apparatus doesn’t have an answer for them. Parents and other loved ones of these girls took to the forest into which the girls were last seen with their abductors. They have taken action because the Nigerian government has not responded to their satisfaction. We in the faith community here in the U.S.A. could take a cue from these Nigerian parents.
Islam is practiced by more Nigerians than any other religion. People of the Islamic creed comprise a plurality if not an outright majority of Nigeria’s citizens. The heavily Muslim north includes areas previously governed by the Sokoto Caliphate an Islamic theocracy. British colonialist seized power from them in the year 1903. Chibok, the location of the girls’ boarding school, lies within the north where Boko Haram has established a foothold.
Christians, who are fewer in number, tend to occupy the south and central parts of Nigeria. The Christian church body to which this author belongs has also established a presence in Nigeria. Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian president, is a Christian. The government though is not based upon Christ centered theology.
The government isn’t based upon Islamic law either and there lies the problem according to Boko Haram. They want an Islamic theocracy such as that found in Saudi Arabia and Iran. They want their brand of Islam based upon their interpretation of what is called the Sharia. This group interprets Muhammad’s acts and teaching, of which the Sharia (also called Shariah) is derived along with the Quran, to denounce western influences as against the will of Allah. The name Boko Haram itself is a regional moniker that translates to “Western education is a sin” or “Western education is forbidden.”
Christizen (Christian citizen) Outlook
It seems a thread of anti- Westernism for lack of a better word runs through many of these type groups and their sympathizers. I can understand that to a degree. The imperialist activity engaged in by European colonial empires of long ago has left its stamp on diverse places particularly in Africa. One result is African nations have artificial borders where people who are often traditional enemies find themselves within the same boundaries. A plunder of resources and talent had also taken place. I suspect a great deal of troubles on the African continent can be traced to colonialism.
However, I notice a more disturbing web of discontent among the Boko Harams of the world. They seem to object to any uplifting of females that may take place. The education of girls in particular seems to upset them. This too may well be a relic of European and American colonialism. Still, the antagonism that resonates here reminds me of that which caused the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, who raised the Taliban’s ire simply by going to school. I have no doubt that a spirit of oppression accompanied by the all so human desire to exercise control over others contaminates their souls.
The Christizens know that Godly example is what ultimately lead people to the Lord. Military, economic and other coercive means can bring about only artificial religious observance that relies upon rules and ritual rather than righteousness instead of a heart felt outreach to God.
Our leader here in the United States, President Barack Obama, has finally spoken up about this tragedy. And it appears that America will help them. I salute that with one caveat: help the Nigerian girls, leave the oil* and politics alone.
*See the following capsule entry Nigeria/Quick Facts
The map below shows the sections of Nigeria in which Boko Haram is most active: