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Friday, 23 May 2014

The Horror behind 'Boko Haram'

'Boko Haram', the terror group responsible for the kidnap of over 200 girls in North East Nigeria, will be defeated. And tonight at Sunderland Minster, I saw the reason why. The 'Wearside Women in Need' and African Women's Support group organised a prayer vigil, to remember the plight of the girls and their families.

The vigil was marked by strong and brave women, many from Africa, who wanted to pray for those caught up in the horror of the kidnapping - but were determined to argue for the fundamental right to women's education in Nigeria and throughout the world.

'Boko Haram' simply means 'Western Education is forbidden' in the Hause Language. They set themselves up in 2002 and since they began large scale military actions in 2009, have killed 1000's of people, including 173 teachers as they attack schools where women are being educated.

They have killed far more Muslims than Christians, as they terrorise the population with a barbaric, fundamentalist form of Islam.

But their actions have caused a huge global wave of anger and disgust from Christians, Muslims and all who value human life. And women are at the forefront of the resistance to these men of violence.

Patriarchal violence is real and horrific, but it is destined to fail. Women are now stronger and more determined than ever to resist oppression. As I witnessed tonight in the Minster and as testified world over - sisterhood is on the up, and even groups like Boko Haram will wither and die in the coming decades.

But in the mean time, while we still have to live with these atrocities in our midst,  our cry goes out: 'Bring Back our Girls'  

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