In The News
Chibok, Nigeria—Rallying around the cry “Bring Back Our Girls,” people worldwide are calling for the release of 276 teenage girls, kidnapped from their Nigerian school on April 14. The extremist group Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sin,” has claimed responsibility.
“I abducted your girls,” said a man claiming to be the group’s leader. “I will sell them in the market, by Allah. There is a market for selling humans.” Traffickers sell girls into sex slavery or forced marriages for as little as $12.
Muslim human-rights lawyer Arsalan Iftikhar said, “It is obscene and absolutely un-Islamic for these lunatic human traffickers to invoke the name of God.” The Quran, he added, condemns such barbaric actions.
Shocked that the kidnapping had made few headlines beyond Africa, a California mother launched #BringBackOurGirls. “I started shouting it,” said Ramaa Mosley, “and within a few hours, I started getting responses.” The hashtag has now been tweeted more than 1 million times. When people ask Mosley for permission to organize protests, she responds, “This is for you to give yourself permission to do. Every one of us should be marching and protesting.”
Boko Haram now appears to be targeting potential rescuers, killing 310 people in the latest attack. But President Obama is confident the extremists won’t win. “I think drop by drop by drop that we can erode and wear down these forces that are so destructive,” he said.
UNICEF’s Caryl Stern said that although the immediate concern is getting the girls home safely, “we also need the public to channel its outrage into preventing future abuse.”
Millions of people worldwide are victims of slavery and human trafficking. And schools in dozens of countries have faced intentional attacks by opponents of education for girls. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban, called the Nigerian kidnapping victims her sisters and said it’s “our duty” to speak up for them.
Sources: cnn.com, abcnews.go.com, aworldatschool.org
* * *
Discussion Questions for Student Small Groups
Why do you think it’s been so difficult finding these girls? Do you hold out hope for their rescue? Why or why not?
Why do you suppose it took so long for this story to make much news? Is distance the only factor? What else might be involved? How might the reaction to this story have been different if it had occurred in America?
For you, what emotions does this story spark? What does it say about the way people treat fellow humans?
What duty or obligation do you feel, if any, to take action for these girls? Do you think there’s anything you can really do to help? Why or why not?
What are some examples in the Bible of ways God used people’s meager efforts or contributions? How can “small” acts create a chain reaction? Where have you witnessed this in your own life?
Does it do any good to get angry about something if you can’t or don’t take action? Why or why not? How can young people appropriately and effectively channel their outrage about local, national, and global issues?
Why does God call us to be a voice for people who are oppressed? What are some practical ways this can happen?
When have you issued or responded to a call to action, and what was the result? How can you make your voice heard in respectful ways that glorify God?
What kinship do you feel with people across the globe? with people across your city who are different from you?
What aspects or privileges of Western culture do you most often take for granted? To what extent do you appreciate and value your right to an education?
When people who claim to possess the same faith as you use it to justify questionable or sinful behavior, how does that make you feel? How might you respond to someone who invokes God’s will or Scripture to continue sinning?
Scripture links: Proverbs 31:8-9; Jeremiah 31:15-17; John 6:5-9; Romans 6:14-18; James 1:22-25; and 2 Peter 1:5-9.