Protestors slam global failure to save missing Nigerian girls

A man makes a sign outside the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations on June 2, 2014 in New York City. Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

Gathering outside the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C. to mark the 100th day since the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in Nigeria, protestors urged more effective action to return them home.

“We're here to talk about over 200 girls who are still in captivity, who have been violated, who some are pregnant, who have been put into sex trafficking,” said Faith McDonnell, Religious Liberty Program Director of the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

“But that's not the end with Boko Haram,” warned McDonnell, who helped organize the July 24 rally. “That's just the beginning.”

The event commemorated the 100 day anniversary since 276 schoolgirls, most between the ages of 16 and 18, were kidnapped from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, in the northeastern part of the country.

The girls were taken and held captive by Boko Haram, a militant terrorist organization launched in 2009 with the aim of enacting a narrow view of Sharia law in the country. Previously, the organization has targeted government officials, security forces, Christian minorities, and moderate Muslims in the predominantly Muslim Northern region of Nigeria.

Protestors at the Nigerian embassy wore shirts bearing the #bringbackourgirls Twitter hashtag. The hashtag was popularized on social media in the weeks after the attack, particularly through its promotion by First Lady Michelle Obama.

“We've had hashtags, we've had voices, we've had marches and rallies, we need more of those,” commented Ann Buwalda, director of the Jubilee Campaign who also helped host the protest.

“But on the other hand Boko Haram is still engaged in its violence and barbaric campaign to exterminate Christians from the northeast of Nigeria.”

Human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe also spoke at the event, weighing in that “Boko Haram is waging a relentless war against Nigeria’s Christians and the world is doing nothing to stop it.”

“The abduction of these innocent schoolgirls is a tragedy that has upset millions across the globe, and yet our governments are incapable of rescuing them.”

McDonnell warned that the “intentions of Boko Haram to forcibly Islamize Nigeria through horrific violence are a very serious threat both to U.S. security and to the citizens of Nigeria,” and called for greater action from the United States government.

“The State Department continues to downplay Boko Haram’s Islamist nature, preferring to see the terrorist murderers as victims of poverty and marginalization, even though they have been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” she said in a statement. “Moral equivalency is not the way to handle Boko Haram.”

“Although this rally is about the Chibok girls, it is also to call attention to all of the Nigerians who have been killed, left widowed or orphaned, and/or displaced from their homes and communities by these jihadists,” she emphasized.


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Events

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August 29, 2015

  • Saturday, August 29

    Family Foster Care and Foster Adoption Info Meeting, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Children’s Bureau Family Center, 1910 Magnolia Ave., Los Angeles. Children’s Bureau invites willing adults to become a resource family to children in foster care. Qualifying individuals (single or married) receive training, certification and support. (213) 342-0168. www.all4kids.org.

    A Pattern of Love and Forgiveness, 10 a.m.-4p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. Cheryl Wunsch, Med RNCS, will share her faith journey to forgive the young man who murdered her mother. $50, lunch included. (310) 377-4867. www.maryjoseph.org.

    Grand Marian Procession, 3 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple St., Los Angeles. Banners, flags, color guards and bagpipers will highlight the processional parade which starts at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with a Votive Mass and will end at Our Lady Queen of Angels Church “La Placita” with the benediction. www.thequeenofangels.comhttps://www.facebook.com/events/451624838374689/.

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