U.S. House Representatives Keith Ellison and André Carson led American Muslim leaders in a call to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau that condemned the recent kidnappings of Nigerian schoolgirls.
Ellison and Carson are the only Muslim members of Congress, and they condemned the actions that Boko Haram have taken in the name of Islam in an open letter sent to The Huffington Post. They are joined by over thirty American Muslim leaders from all over the country.
International Muslim leaders have also spoke out against Boko Haram, such as Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of Al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam’s oldest and most respected institutions. He said earlier this month, “The actions by Boko Haram are pure terrorism, with no relation to Islam, especially the kidnapping of the girls.”
The open letter:
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful –
May 20, 2014
We urge you to immediately release the young children you have unconscionably taken. Your actions have shocked Muslims across the world and have disrespected Islam and the teachings of the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him).
Your justification for stealing these children – that education for girls goes against Islam – has no basis whatsoever in our faith. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) wisely emphasized that every Muslim man and woman has a duty to seek education. You have truly strayed from Islam when your actions betray its first command: “Iqra!”
You do not represent Islam or what Muslims know to be the teachings of Islam. Your attempt to transform a central tenet of Islam into a vile lie used to kill and maim innocent Nigerians of all faiths is transparent. You treat children like cattle. It is abhorrent and sinful to pretend to be a Prophet to whom Allah has spoken.
A faithful reading of the teachings of Islam compels you to immediately return these children to their families. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) instructs us to set an example of justice and mercy. In Surat Fussilat, Ayah 34, we are told that “the good deed and the evil deed are not alike,” and we are instructed to “repel the evil deed with one that is better.”
If you would like to follow the teachings of Islam, listen to the global chorus of voices that are enjoining you to do what is right: return these children to their families and replace the evil in your heart with peace and learning.
The Huffington Post article has the complete list of signatures.