CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago area Islamic groups were coming together Thursday to express their collective outrage at a crime that has horrified the world; the kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls by a terrorist group in Nigeria.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, a coalition of more than 60 Islamic groups representing more than 400,000 Muslims, condemned the April 14 abduction of the girls at the hands of the terrorist group Boko Haram, which has said it plans to sell the girls into slavery.
The CIOGC denounced Boko Haram as a group of misguided terrorists who wrongfully identify themselves as Islamic.
“The kidnapping of the 276 girls by the Boko Haram is a cruel act, and is contrary to the Islamic values and principles,” said CIOGC board member Tasneem Osmani.
Professor Aminah McCloud, director of the Islamic World Studies program at DePaul University, said the terrorists could hurt the image of Islam in the eyes of non-Muslims.
“All of our traditions, we have had renegades. Being born in a Muslim culture, however, does not give you a pass on committing an act of terrorism,” she said.
McCloud said true Muslims reject everything about Boko Haram.
Boko Haram translates to “Western education is sin” in the Hausa language of Nigeria. The group has been linked to al Qaeda, and seeks strict enforcement of Sharia law across Nigeria, which has large Muslim and Christian populations.
CIOGC Chairman Dr. Mohammed Kaiseruddin said under no circumstances should Boko Haram be described as an Islamic organization.
“Every time I heard Islamist extremists about Boko Haram, I cringe inside. How could this be?” he said. “No extreme interpretation of Islam would allow any license, would give anybody license to kidnap girls and sell them.”
The council called for a day of prayer and fasting on Friday. They also have organized a rally at noon Saturday at Daley Plaza.
They said the kidnapped girls should bee seen as daughters of the entire world.
Siki Adigun, a Nigerian native with the Nigerian Islamic Association, was brought to tears when asked if anyone with the coalition had direct ties to the area where the girls were kidnapped.
“I have family, friends from that area, and it’s been very, very … it’s bad,” she said.
She and others welcome the assistance of the United States in trying to help find the girls, and they wish the U.S. could do even more.
The White House has said it will send military personnel, intelligence experts, and hostage negotiators to Nigeria – although not troops – to help them track down and rescue the kidnapped girls.