We received this letter addressed to the group Boko Haram from an African woman. According to her, Boko Haram – whose name roughly translates to ‘Western education is a sin’ – may be right about Western culture’s ‘bad’ influence. But the sect is wrong about Western education.
Dear Boko Haram,
Allow me to introduce you to those who may not yet know you. You are an Islamist sect founded in 2002 by Mohamed Yusuf to fight against Western education, which you regard as a sin. I have come to see you as an assembly of criminals that welcomes every bandit who follows his own law behind the veneer of religion.
Boko Haram, you are a movement whose ideology is inspired by the Taliban of Afghanistan. Your founder was renowned for his preaching for intolerance and his rejection of Western education in all its forms, and of moderate Islam. He was also known as an ardent defender of the sharia (Islamic law).
You are right, but…
I also see you, a supposed defender of divine justice, dragging my daughter to black markets and selling her like cattle for 12 dollars. My daughter’s only sin was going to school. Her only fault was seeking knowledge.
Is it really a bad thing to develop intelligence and acquire knowledge, especially when we know that the god you pretend to serve is a god of wisdom and knowledge? See my tears, see my heartbreak and tell me how it makes you feel.
To you and your followers who claim to fight against Western education, I say this. You claim that this education is bad. And with all the ‘sins’ that accompany it, you may be right.
Women who come from these schools prefer walking around with open hair and high heels rather than sitting in the kitchen to serve their good husband, as prescribed by her tradition and religion.
Drinking, smoking, dissoluteness and much more also often come from this culture. You are right. But I want you to give me a real reason to believe in your cause. What alternative do you offer? Certainly not your killings.
The fruit of Western education
You use Kalashnikovs to kill these disbelievers. Do you know that Kalashnikov was Russian, and therefore a sinner, and that his invention is the fruit of Western education?
Allow me to make this one suggestion: let’s all go back to the Stone Age. That means we will only use weapons made from rocks. So you will kill with knives, arrows and spears. I watched some of your videos and I noticed that many of you wear glasses, use brand mobile phones and drive cars. All of these are products of modern technology and education. So what exactly do you have against Western education?
Leave the schools
Let’s give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. I hear your fanatic followers claim that knowledge originated in Africa. That is totally true. They also claim that great thinkers came to Egypt to seek knowledge. That is also true.
You may blame Western culture for its carelessness, and I won’t argue. You may remind the Western world of its depravation and extravagance, its infidelity and fornication, and I won’t say a thing. But please, leave their schools.
This is universal knowledge, ours and theirs. You may call their gods to order, as they were slave drivers, racists and colonialists. But I want the Western school. It is universal, it is knowledge, it is life – the same life you take without remorse.