Hard-to-Believe Treachery in NigeriaPosted: November 6, 2014
Hard-to-Believe Treachery in Nigeria
by JBS President John F. McManus
A few months ago, in mid-April to be precise, 276 girls and young women were kidnapped from a boarding school in a remote part of Nigeria known as Chibok. Plenty of worldwide outrage followed, especially because the perpetrators of the deed were militant Islamists claiming to be in league with al Qaeda. They call their organization Boko Haram which in our language translates to “Western education is sinful.”
As is customary no matter what heinous crime is committed, much of the outrage has cooled and the incident is no longer featured in newspaper headlines or on the major TV news programs. Approximately 50 of the schoolgirls have escaped and found their way back to their families. They told of being forced to marry, convert to Islam, and perform menial tasks for the Boko Haram warriors. In a videotaped message released in late October, Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, boastfully and sneeringly stated, “If you knew the state your daughters are in today, it might lead some of you … to die from grief. The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off.”
Surrounded by his masked and armed fighters waving the black and white flag of Al Qaeda, Shekau added: “You people should understand that we only obey Allah; we tread the path of the prophet. We hope to die on this path…. Our goal is the garden of eternal bliss.” He insisted that the only interest Boko Haram has is “battle, hitting, striking, and killing with the gun, which we look forward to like a tasty meal.”
Marc-Antoine Perouse de Montclos, a French scholar who has studied Boko Haram, notes that the area dominated by these militants is in the northeast portion of Nigeria where marauders seeking slaves and booty have long operated. A researcher based at the London-based Royal Institute for International Affairs, de Montclos stated, “Domestic slaves were used as currency, much like cattle, or as a way to extract ransom or settle disputes.” Human Rights Watch estimates that Boko Haram has abducted as many as 500 women and girls since the group began its carnage in 2009.
The Nigerian government recently claimed to have engineered a cease-fire with the Boko Haram militants. But Shekau completely rejects such an arrangement. Meanwhile, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been severely criticized for doing essentially nothing to stop the outrage. Mr. Jonathan is based in faraway Lagos, Nigeria’s capital, where women and girls are safer and there is no threat from Boko Haram.
Reports continue about other militant Islamists in ISIS beheading someone in Syria, committing mass murder elsewhere, and moving steadily toward capture of Iraqi cities. It is certainly true that only a minuscule percentage of Muslim believers participates in these kinds of crimes, just as it is true that only an isolated version of such activity has been carried out in the United States. The massacre at Fort Hood, wrongly deemed by officialdom as “workplace violence,” fits an ominous pattern. Now that Republicans have control of the Senate, will they work together with the House to ensure immigration laws are enforced to avoid a Boko Haram here?
Mr. McManus joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966 and has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.