We have discussed the almost weekly race to the bottom by Islamic extremists who use their faith to justify the most despicable and inhumane acts. However, few can match the atrocities of Boko Haram (“Western education is sinful”) — more properly known as The Congregation of the People of Tradition for Proselytism and Jihad. This Islamic movement in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Niger was founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002 and has made murder and church bombings its special signature of faith. However, even the piles of thousands of corpses killed in the name of Allah did not prepare the world for the latest atrocity: the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian girls and an announcement from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau that “I abducted your girls. I will sell them in the market, by Allah.” Reports indicate that many of the girls have been “married” to Boko Haram soldiers. Nigerians are complaining that the government (which receives enormous U.S. and foreign aid) is not working particularly hard to free the girls. President Goodluck Jonathan described the detention as “unfortunate” and “insensitive”. His wife proved more direct. Mrs. Jonathan has reportedly ordered the arrest of Naomi Mutah, a representative of the Chibok community where the girls were seized from their school. So 200 girls are abducted to be sold into slavery by a fanatical Islamic movement and the wife of the president has the woman leading protests arrested.
Last month, the fanatics overpowered guards at a school and forced the girls out of bed and into trucks. Some 276 were kidnapped and at least 53 escaped. That left 223 in captivity. Mutah and others started a campaign to force action from the government.
Reports indicate that First Lady Patience Jonathan felt slighted that the mothers of the abducted girls had sent Ms. Mutah to the meeting. The First Lady appears to have no authority to order such an arrest but that does not appear to matter in Nigeria.
For his part, the devout man promising to sell girls into slavery is captured on a video coldly describing how “There is a market for selling humans. Allah says I should sell. He commands me to sell. I will sell women. I sell women.” The State Department believes that he means it and that the girls could well disappear into Nigeria’s “market.”
Even if one accepts the statements of the government that they are trying to find the girls, the actions of the First Lady are an outrage. At some point, the United States has to tie foreign aid to basic values protecting women and the rule of law. Nigeria is breathtakingly corrupt. We have seen around the world how such corruption invites extremists to take hold and offer Sharia law as the answer to endemic problems of local governments. We seen to be sustaining such corruption from Iraq to Afghanistan to Nigeria while increasing drone attacks against insurgents fighting these governments. It has not proven a winning strategy but we do not seem to have a plan B. We gave some $625 million to the country in 2012. In the meantime, girls are denied their most basic right to education and choice. U.S. dollars should go to those countries that commit themselves to basic values, including the rights of women and girls as well as protections for free speech and free exercise. The world is facing a deep divide between religious orthodoxy and individual rights. The West has to stop being apologetic for demanding that nations afford their citizens basic rights as a condition for support. At the moment, we are pouring billions into countries that continue to radicalize and organize against basic freedoms. At a minimum, we should put the emphasis on aid to educating girls and establishing free press and independent court systems. Obviously, this needs to include security protection for schools. I believe that the Obama Administration is targeting such programs but we clearly need to require more from recipient countries in terms of reforms. In the case of Nigeria, we might want to start with demanding reforms of the faux office of the First Lady.