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IRD, Allied Groups to Rally for Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls Awaiting Rescue from Boko Haram Militants

Contact: Jeff Walton, Institute on Religion and Democracy, 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639, jwalton@TheIRD.org

WASHINGTON, July 23, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ -- Over 200 schoolgirls from northeastern Nigeria remain captives of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram 100 days after their abduction. Word of the girls' plight spread quickly through social media through the #bringbackourgirls hashtag.

    What: Rally marking 100 days of captivity for schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram

    Who: Institute on Religion & Democracy, Jubilee Campaign and The Working Group on Nigeria

    Where: Embassy of Nigeria, 3519 International Ct NW, Washington, DC 20008

    When: Thursday, July 24, Noon - 2 p.m.

Several dozen girls have escaped their captors, telling of forced conversions to Islam and forced marriages. According to the Los Angeles Times, Boko Haram's leader, Abubakar Shekau, threatened to sell the girls "in the market" and referred to them as "slaves" soon after the kidnapping.

IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J. H. McDonnell commented:

    "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.

    "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. Moral equivalency is not the way to handle Boko Haram.

    "Boko Haram has been relentless in its attacks against Christians and their places of worship. 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."