09 May Mark Durie on the Glazov Gang – Islam’s Role in Boko Haram’s Kidnapping of Schoolgirls
In this interview I suffered a slip of the tongue and at one point said that Islam permits a man to have five wives. Of course the correct limit for the number of wives is four!
Also, when I referred to Islam permitting sex with young girls (for example the kidnapped Nigerian school girls), I was speaking of the legitimacy, according to many Islamic scholars, for men to marry girls as young as nine, following the example of Muhammad when he married Aisha (see Sahih Bukhari, Book 58, Hadith number 236). Of course there are Muslims who disagree with following this path, but many leading Muslims in Nigeria support child marriages of girls, see here.
Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, is considered by his followers to be a religious scholar, and he certainly would not be selling girls in the marketplace and marrying them off unless he considered this was permitted by his religion. One may or may not disagree with his conclusions, but it is beyond dispute that he is sincere in his beliefs and these beliefs are what guides his group’s actions. It is also clear what theological authority he relies on for these beliefs and actions, namely the Sunna, or example and teaching of Muhammad. His organization’s commitment to following the Sunna is expressed in their official name. For a discussion of this and the popular name for this group, Boko Haram, visit this earlier post, where I explain that:
Their official Arabic name … means ‘A Group of People of the Sunna (the example and teaching of Muhammad) for Da’wa (proclamation or Islamization) and Jihad‘. The Boko Haram nick-name for the group refers to their objection to the Latin alphabet, which has become dominant in Nigerian education, including for writing Hausa: the Hausa word boko (from English book) refers to the Latin alphabet. It can also refer more generally to non-religious education. The Arabic word haram means a ‘forbidden’ or ‘prohibited’ practice according to Islam. So the phrase boko haram could mean ‘secular learning is prohibited for Muslims’.