Religious scholars working under the world’s largest bloc of Islamic countries on Thursday denounced the mass kidnappings of Nigerian girls by an extremist group claiming to be fighting for Islam.
The group called Boko Haram seized more than 200 pupils from a secondary school in Chibok, in northern Nigeria’s Borno state on April 14. Boko Haram fighters also seized another eight girls after that.
On Tuesday, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened in a video to sell the girls into slavery, ignoring protests and pleas by people from all faiths in Nigeria to release them unharmed.
In a statement on Thursday, the Jeddah-based International Islamic Fiqh Academy (IIFA) condemned the abductions as a “heinous act” and demanded that the victims be immediately released without any condition.
“Crime and other crimes committed by the likes of these extremist organizations contradicts all humanitarian principles and moral values and violates the provisions of the Qur’an and Sunnah,” said the academy, which is dedicated to the advanced study of Islam.
The IIFA is part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which is composed of some 57 Muslim majority member-nations.
Also on Thursday, the OIC’s Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission said Boko Haram is misguided to claim that the abduction of the girls and the threat to sell them off as slaves is in conformity with the injunctions of Islam. The rights body described the abduction of the schoolgirls as a “barbaric act.”
“Right to education is a fundamental human right, and is in consonance with the basic tenets of Islam,” the rights body said.
Muslims around the world have also spoken out against the kidnappings.
(Additional report from the Associated Press)