Followers of the One

I woke up this morning to an alert from group called Christian Freedom International. Their stated purpose to monitor and to aid Christians around the world who are in danger or hardship because of their faith.

Here’s the alert.

“Please, continue to pray for the over 230 abducted Christian girls still missing in Nigeria after over two weeks. Members of the militant Muslim group Boko Haram attacked the Government Girls Secondary school while the girls were asleep in their dormitories on April 14th. The Islamists loaded the girls into trucks, and then set the school on fire, and looted and burned nearby homes and businesses. About 40 girls have reportedly escaped their captors. This type of violence, the targeting of Christian girls and children, has been on the rise as the enemy knows that it is a most painful and demoralizing way to attack the parents. Information is coming now from villagers on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, where Boko Haram is known to have hideouts. A representative of the Borno-Yobe People’s Forum cites reports from the informants that the girls are being sold into marriage to Boko Haram militants for 2,000 naira–or $12.”

Here are some news article on the subject

One man from the affected community said this…

Chibok is a predominately Christian community – although in families you find Muslim brothers and sisters, but you would not know until you asked because we are mixed thoroughly.

I don’t think they targeted the community because of their religion, because most of the places being attacked lately are in fact predominantly Muslim areas.

My sister was sitting her final exams – after six years of study.

Apparently, the name of the attacking group, Boko Haram means “Western education is sinful” (according to the Reuters article) or “Western education is forbidden” (according to BBC).

This being the case, it smells of Islamic fundamentalists punishing  supposedly backslidden members of their own religion (but not ‘members who have committed crimes’  per say.  Groups. Areas.  By means of their children.)(Sounds like God… Deut 5:9…)

But that is speculation on my part.

Despite the Islamists/Christian slant given the story by CFI, it seems that, the area is has been fairly mixed religiously, and has been more so in the past.

“Although there were differences, Christians and Muslims lived together. We were in an out of each other’s homes. Our children went to the same schools, learning from each other about their respective religions and cultures.

People even married across religious lines – my stepmother became a Muslim and married a Muslim.

My sister also married a Muslim, but remained a Christian.

There are many such marriages in Kaduna. It never caused a problem. There was respect and tolerance – not hatred and violence.

Things changed around the year 2000, when Kaduna was hit, for the first time, by religious conflict attributed to the introduction of Islamic law in the state.

That is when segregated settlements emerged. People fled their homes to escape violence. Christians ended up living in one part of the city; Muslims in another.

I have always been opposed to segregated areas – and that is why I still live, with my wife and four children, in a mainly Muslim area.”

A return to a stricter interpretation of Islamic Law is both threatened and feared, in the case of the abducted girls.

“Mr Bitrus said there were also reports that the insurgents had married some of the girls.

“We learned that one of the ‘grooms’ brought his ‘wife’ to a neighbouring town in Cameroon and kept her there,” he told the BBC.

“It’s a medieval kind of slavery,” he added.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau first threatened to treat captured women and girls as slaves in a video released in May 2013.

It fuelled concern at the time that the group is adhering to the ancient Islamic belief that women captured during war are slaves with whom their “masters” can have sex, correspondents say.”

So maybe the ‘Islamist as aggressor ‘ stuff isn’t too far off, huh?  Muslims are only ‘Good Muslims’ to the degree they’ve abandoned their religion and aren’t really Islamic at all, perhaps?

Guess again.

Deuteronomy 21:10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her,you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.

Isn’t it sweet? If the sex isn’t as good as you imagined, you can let the girl go free. Free as a bird! Back to her home culture, which may or may not consider her complete and utterly worthless and defiled if she isn’t a virgin!

Exodus 21:7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.

Aww!  Wife and slave are actually interchangeable categories!

(Now- I am sort of dimly aware that the thing referred to as the ‘Old Testament’ is also the Jewish Tanakh.  I do not feel qualified to speak to that, and maybe there are sophisticated amazing Jewish interpretations of these passages that make them totally ethical ok.  Who knows.

But I don’t know those interpretations. And I can’t recall  having meet another Christian who did.  I have experienced the Tanakh as the Old Testament- misinterpreted and ignored as necessary by some, and followed in a more and more strictly literal sense by others.)

As it turns out, the reason that Christians and Muslims were living together in harmony is not only because the Muslims had let go of the more archaic elements of their religion.

“These are innocent children, girls, who went to school that are going through this,” Nwaubani says. “The people who need the most protection from us. So we feel the horror in a new way that we haven’t before.” 

At the same time, Nwaubani points to aspects of the tragedy that are uniting her country. She says Nigerians are not concerned about whether the girls are Christian or Muslim, or from different ethnic groups. 

“This time we’re talking about it like we’re talking about our own children,” she says. “The horror is being felt by everyone I speak to, in every part of the country.”




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