Key Chicago Islamic leaders joined the global campaign on Thursday morning asking people and government leaders to keep up the pressure to release the nearly 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped nearly three weeks ago by an extremist group.
“Imagine people coming to a school and kidnapping girls. Not just girls, human beings,” said Siki Adigun, a member of Nigerian Islamic Association, as she fought back tears.“It’s bad.”
At this point, Adigun believes that only outside governments can help because she thinks the Nigerian president is “100 percent” to blame.
Adigun spoke during a morning news conference called by the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. She was surrounded by five others, all of whom represented about 60 Islamic organizations and 400,000 Muslims in Illinois. The leaders wanted not only to promote awareness about the problem, but they also wanted to distance Islam, their religion, from Boko Haram, the fundamentalist group who has been named as the girls’ kidnappers.
“We take a strong exception of looking at Boko Haram as an Islamic extremist group,” said Mohammed Kaiseruddin, chairman of The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago. “No extreme interpretation of Islam would permit them to kidnap and sell girls.”
“Regardless of who the victims of terrorism are, it is evil. The Nigerian girls are daughters of the world. They are our daughters,” Kaiseruddin said.
“#Bring back our girls” is being used on social media to pressure the Nigerian government. Michelle Obama and many other celebrities and politicians have posted photographs on Twitter, holding signs with that hashtag on it.
“I really think that the United States should come with all its might to help Nigeria in this instance, because the [Nigerian] government has failed to do its mission,” said Shaffdeen Amuwo, a member of the Nigerian Islamic Association of the USA. “This group has to be wiped out completely. Do it one time and get it over with.”
“A group of specialists, which includes psychologists, is being sent to Nigeria by President Obama,”said Tasneem Osmani, a board member of the Council.
Kaiseruddin said, “They [Bora Haram] are convinced that they can get away with everything. Only a force can stop them.”