Islamic officials condemn kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls

May 8, 2014
(A woman holds a sign during a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility on Monday for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the French news agency AFP reported, citing a video it had obtained. Boko Haram on April 14 stormed an all-girl secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

(A woman holds a sign during a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

Islamic scholars and human rights officials of the world’s largest Muslim organisation on Thursday denounced the mass kidnapping of Nigerian schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram as “a gross misinterpretation of Islam”.

The statements from a research institute and human rights committee of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) echoed denunciations of the radical Islamist group by religious leaders and officials in Nigeria and several Muslim countries.

Boko Haram says it wants to establish a “pure” Islamic state in Nigeria and its leader Abubakar Shekau declared in a video on Monday that “Allah has instructed me to sell … on the market” the more than 200 girls abducted from their school on April 14.

That video appears to have prompted Islamic officials to speak out against Boko Haram’s radical religious views.

“This crime and other crimes carried out by such extremist organisations negate all human principles and moral values and stand in contradiction to the clear teachings of the blessed Koran and the rightful examples set by the Prophet (Mohammad),” the OIC’s International Islamic Fiqh Academy said.

“The secretariat of the academy, shocked by this ugly act, strongly demands the immediate release of these innocent girls without causing any harm to any of them,” said a statement posted on the website of the academy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The OIC’s human rights commission condemned “the barbaric act of abducting the innocent schoolgirls” and the “misguided claim of Boko Haram” that selling them as slaves was Islamic.

This was “a gross misrepresentation of Islam,” it said.

Read the full story by Sami Aboudi and Tom Heneghan here.

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