We have observed the escalation of this phenomenon, which started from 11 girls progressing to over 200. We also realize the impunity of the Boko Haram militants in further capturing another 8 girls and also 300 more without paying heed to the public outcry and condemnation coming from all corners of the world. Their action transcends the borders of Nigeria to other neighboring countries and gives it a transnational dimension. This should be a cause of concern for all of our countries. No country should remain complacent given the current trends of abuses meted on girls in the name of religion. These girls have been subjected to various forms of abuse including but not limited to sex slavery, forced marriage as well as selling them out as mere commodities. The leader of Boko Haram said “I abducted your girls, I will sell them”. This is a serious breach of the principles to which Islam is founded upon. Islam respects the dignity of the person, especially women, and is clearly stipulated in the holy Koran in various verses underscoring the respect and dignity of the woman.
This act of violence against women, is misogyny, satanic and outright evil against women, and is certainly not Islamic.
Education is key in every society especially for women and girls, and we urge parents not to relent on their efforts to educate their girl-child. It is the fear of the feminine and the beauty it carries, with knowledge that is being nipped in the bud. We must resist the efforts to silence the empowerment of women and their emancipation.
We express our deepest sympathy to the families of these girls and the entire Nigerian nation for this unholy, unacceptable and disgraceful act. We call on the whole world to rise up against these atrocities.
As concerned activists and organisations working on the rights of women and children, we condemn this atrocity. As mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers, we fear for our daughters and wives who could be victims in any country and therefore demand that these women and girls be released immediately to their families.
We call on the Nigerian government and the whole world to respond actively without any reservations to deal with these criminals who profess to be Muslims while defiling its basic principles as well as the respect for the dignity of the person and humanity.
The Muslim Ummah should condemn this act without reservation, in order to strengthen the faith of all Muslims.
We urge the Nigerian government to call on other nations for support in dealing with this atrocity that is likely to spread across borders regardless of social, economic, ideological or political lines causing enormous and dangerous outcomes that will affect all of humanity. We appreciate the efforts being made despite the slow process. We must escalate our efforts to protect these innocent girls and destroy the terrorism currently targeting women.
We underscore the importance of the ONE BILLION RISING AGAINST VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND THE RISING FOR JUSTICE. This global initiative initiated by Eve Ensler is very important for the promotion and protection of women’s rights irrespective of what our religious or political affiliations may be. All nations must join the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women. We must amplify our voices and work beyond boundaries and borders because it is a threatening phenomenon that is moving from one region to another.
The revolution is to fight against violence targeting women. We must rise against injustice no matter who it is directed at.
· TIME FOR ACTION IS NOW!!
· WESTERN EDUCATION IS NOT HARAM!!
· SILENCE MEANS ACCEPTANCE OF THE ACTIONS OF BOKO HARAM!!
· IT COULD BE YOUR GIRL-CHILD!!
· SO RISE UP AGAINST THE ATROCITIES!!
· PROTECT THE NAME OF ISLAM!!
· THIS IS MYSOGYNY!!
Dr. Isatou Touray
Mr. Njundu Drammeh