The abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria is wrong by any standards — including Islamic standards.

Extremists like Boko Haram — the group behind the kidnappings — are about as Muslim as the Westboro Baptist Church is Christian. More than 1 billion Muslims around the world (including myself) have read the Quran extensively. No part of our holy book authorizes the taking hostage of innocent young girls or selling them into sexual slavery (as Boko Haram has reportedly threatened).

The Quran states quite clearly that that nobody “shall force girls to commit prostitution” (24:33) or coerce a woman to marry anyone against her will (4:19). The Boko Haram has ignored this. Members of the group have also disregarded the numerous times the Prophet Muhammad categorically stated that women or children were never to be harmed under any situation.

The world’s Muslim population proudly stands in solidarity with these missing young schoolgirls in Nigeria and strongly rejects groups like Boko Haram. In accordance with our Islamic principles, we demand that every one of these girls be released — right now.

Arsalan Iftikhar is founder of and adjunct professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago. He wrote this for Progressive Media Project. It was distributed by MCT Information Services.

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