“Western education is forbidden.” Roughly translated that’s the meaning of Boko Haram, words in the Hausa language, which refer to the Nigerian Islamist terror group.
A few months ago, the group kidnapped over 200 teenage girls from one school. They have not been seen since. A leader of the group stated last week that the girls have all been married off. ISIS was selling kidnapped women in Iraq for $1,000 each. It seems likely Boko Haram gave the girls away to terrorists fighting in their group.
Yesterday came news that 46 teenage boys have been killed in another school in Nigeria by Boko Haram.
The number 46 reminded me of a community where we once lived, the city of Bath, in Michigan, just outside of Lansing.
In the spring of 1927 the local school was blown up and 46 people, mostly youngsters at the school, eventually died as a result of that day’s carnage. It remained the worst terrorist attack in US history until Oklahoma City in April 1995, which also claimed many young lives in a daycare facility.
On a website devoted to the Bath disaster are the following introductory words:
“On a cool Spring morning in May of 1927 the Treasurer of the Bath, Michigan, Consolidated School District fire/dynamite bombed his home and farm and collapsed the North half of the school building (having intended to destroy all of it). Within the hour he had committed additional murders in the middle of the village by the suicidal detonation of shrapnel-shrouded explosives that he had packed into his vehicle. Over the following year a total of 46 people would be dead as a result of that day’s mayhem and many, many more would be counted among the injured & maimed. After 86 years this incident still ranks as the worst instance of school violence in U.S. history.”
Like Oklahoma City, this particular incident was an example of homegrown terrorism.
We lived in Bath when 9/11 happened, the worst terror attack in American history. So far. I fear others lie ahead that will be worse in terms of numbers of deaths. 9/11 was perpetrated by Islamist terrorists who hated the West. ISIS is made up of people who feel the same way. Boko Haram reflects a great deal of anger directed at Western education.
Hatred of the West is not going away.
Will ISIS or Boko Haram be defeated? Not likely. Certainly not in the short-term.
Nigeria’s police and military are a joke. That is true right across West Africa. The police are less a force to capture criminals, than people who extort money out of innocent members of the public. The military in most countries is not well disciplined and will run away when confronted by armed insurgents, such as Boko Haram.
Terrorism threatens all of us, even children in school. It’s the scourge of the age. Although the vast majority of terror attacks are perpetrated by Islamists, adherents of all religions are capable of extremely violent acts.
These awful acts should inspire Christians to pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come” (Matt 6:10). Only when Jesus Christ returns and it’s clear which religion really is the truth will terrorism come to an end.