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Wondering about Boko Haram

I watch a lot of CNN and I wonder if these Boko Haram people realise what a bad name they're getting. In a film clip their leader, a scruffy-looking gentleman with a beard and an automatic weapon slung across his chest, rants about how he is going to sell the abducted Nigerian schoolgirls into slavery. "I will sell them in the market, by Allah!" he bellows. "I sell women. Allah says I should sell."

This gentleman needs to brush up his PR skills. This is not going to fly in Peoria. Nor, I think, in Davenport, Iowa, nor in many other metropolises of the civilised world. It is bad PR for the gentleman personally, for the organisation he represents, for Nigeria, and for Islam.

I wonder if he isn't committing some sort of Islamic lese-majeste offence by dragging Allah into the affair. It sounds to me like blasphemy. Isn't there some sort of Islamic pope who can make a ruling on this issue? If, as the gentleman implies, Allah has commanded him to sell little Nigerian girls into slavery, I believe I made a wise choice many years ago when I decided to remain a Presbyterian.

I also wonder about a country that permits slave markets to operate in its territory. And finally, I wonder why the Nigerian president, Mr Goodluck, wears that silly hat. It makes him look like a comedian.

Yes, I've been doing a lot of wondering lately.

Constance Beasley

Bangkok


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